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Yash Chopra

Yash Raj Chopra (27 September 1932 – 21 October 2012) was an Indian film director, screenwriter and film producer, predominantly working in Hindi cinema and Bollywood. Chopra began his career as an assistant director to I.S. Johar and his elder brother, B.R. Chopra. He made his directorial debut with Dhool Ka Phool in 1959, a melodrama about illegitimacy and followed it with the social drama Dharmputra (1961). Encouraged by the success of both films, the Chopra brothers made several more movies together during the late fifties and sixties. Chopra then rose to prominence after the commercially and critically successful drama, Waqt (1965), which pioneered the concept of ensemble casts in Bollywood.

In 1973, Chopra founded his own production company, Yash Raj Films, and launched it with Daag: A Poem of Love (1973), a successful melodrama about a polygamous man. His success continued in the seventies, with some of Indian cinema's most successful and iconic films, including the action thriller Deewar (1975) which established Amitabh Bachchan as leading man in Bollywood, the romantic drama Kabhi Kabhie (1976) and Trishul (1978). The eighties marked a professional setback in Chopra's career as several films he directed and produced in that period failed to leave a mark at the Indian box office, notably Silsila (1981), Mashaal (1984), Faasle (1985) and Vijay (1988). However, in 1989, Chopra directed the commercially and critically successful cult film Chandni which became instrumental in ending the era of violent films in Bollywood and returning musicals.

Chopra then directed and produced the cult classic Lamhe in 1991. Considered by critics and Chopra himself as his best work to date, the film became one of the biggest Bollywood hits in the overseas market. Chopra followed it with the box-office hit and trend setter Darr (1993). Starring Shahrukh Khan in his debut, it showed a sympathetic look at obsessive love and defied the image of the conventional hero. Since then, Chopra directed three more romantic films, all starring Khan; Dil To Pagal Hai (1997), Veer-Zaara (2004) and Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012) before he announced his retirement from directing in 2012.

Chopra founded and was chairman of the motion picture production and distribution company Yash Raj Films, which ranks as India's biggest production company as of 2006, as well as the founder of Yash Raj Studios. Chopra's career has spanned over five decades and over 50 films and is considered one of the leading filmmakers in the history of Hindi cinema. Chopra has won several film awards, including six National Film Awards, eleven Filmfare awards and four Filmfare Award for Best Director. The Government of India honoured him with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2001 and the Padma Bhushan in 2005 for his contributions towards Indian cinema. BAFTA presented him with a lifetime membership for his contribution to the films, making him the first Indian to receive the honour.