'Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge' Yash Raj Films

He’s one of Bollywood’s biggest filmmakers who is on every actor’s wish list. Although despite his work as a producer giving the opportunity for even newcomers to work with him, there are only a handful of people who have had the honour of having Aditya Chopra as their director. Having started his career young, Chopra has directed four big blockbusters, each of which tell heartwarming stories of ultimate love, and many of which show much of the influence his late father Yash Chopra had on him. As he turns 47 on 21st May, BizAsiaLive.com takes a look back at how each of these love stories have been different and have developed and matured as Chopra’s career has grown, and fit with the current audience of that time.

Dilwale Dulhuniya Le Jayenge (1995)
At the tender age of 24, Chopra made the bold move of venturing into his debut directorial, with a simple story of boy meets girl. With Raj and Simran brilliantly played by Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol in ‘Dilwale Dulhuniya Le Jayenge’, Chopra portrayed everything heroes and heroines from yesteryear films have represented and modernised it to cater to the younger audiences of the 90s. Here were two star-crossed lovers, no longer restricted by a vicious villain, but simply by a doting father who was stuck in the times. This subject was actually something that many audience members at the time were likely to have going through themselves. Having this relatable element of the film, with the couple still prevailing, won the hearts and minds of all, leading to the film becoming one of the biggest successes Bollywood has ever seen.

Mohabbatein (2000)
Chopra was extremely clever with ‘Mohabbatein’. Using four love stories, all representing different type of couples, he ensured everyone had something to relate to, where times were changing and relationships started becoming a little more open. With the central couple Raj Aryan (Khan) and Megha (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) portraying the type of love story an older generation would identify, the three couples Vicky (Uday Chopra) and Ishita (Shamita Shetty), Sameer (Jugal Hansraj) and Sanjana (Kim Sharam) and Karan (Jimmy Shergill) and Kiran (Preeti Jhangiani), all represented different younger couples with their own challenges. With this, Chopra did something very few, if not any, filmmakers had achieved, which was to make an over-the-top love story relatable. Just like the ensemble cast, audiences were able to reflect some of their own personalities to each of the young characters, however (and here’s the clever part) wishing they had a teacher like Raj Aryan to show them the way. With Khan’s character once again proving love defeats all, Chopra had his audience give him another nod of approval.

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008)
Introducing Anushka Sharma was another big risk the filmmaker took when starting his third directorial. However this, much like his others, turned out to be one of the best decisions he had made. Again, Chopra mixed things up in the world of storytelling by having Suri (Khan) and Taani (Sharma) married in the first part. In another attempt of having a relatable element, this time Chopra went down the route of portraying an arranged marriage, where things don’t seem to be going very well from the start. However, in pure Chopra style, once again he has his hero parade through the story to win the heart he already has. However, this time Chopra add the element of self-worth and admiration. With Suri changing his whole identity to have his wife fall in love with him, only to find that it was the little things about him being his true self that won her heart, the film sent an inspirational message of not only loving the person you’re with, but knowing you are enough for you to be loved back. Now how many other directors have made one feel like that through their projects?

Befikre (2016)
When Chopra announced he was about to embark on his first venture after his father’s passing, everyone had patiently waited with high hopes to view another ‘love will prevail’ kind of film. However, despite the open letter he sent to his late father when announcing the film saying it will be like no other, nobody expected a film that portrays a modern relationship of today quite so closely. No longer was there an innocent girl waiting for her knight in shining armour, and long gone was the boy who would save his lady love from all evil. Instead, here was a film where the couple were their own villains. The audiences were introduced to Shreya (Vaani Kapoor) an Indian girl who lives in Paris, away from home and who very much had her own wild life, and Dharam (Ranveer Singh), an Indian boy who recently moved to Paris looking for his own fun. Chopra definitely added the shock factor in this film, showing the audiences what relationship of today’s generation are actually about. It was the fact that this was an production, where everyone was expecting a lot more of the fantasy rather than reality, that really got people talking. Though, this was meant to be a film that cast a new way of showing what true love really is. The details may have been different, but Chopra still managed to represent the importance of love very much in ‘Befikre’, where both Kapoor and Singh’s characters showed their innocence and understanding as they revealed more about each other throughout the story.

Whether it be a ‘DDLJ’ or a ‘Befikre’, Chopra has always attempted to add the element of realism and relatability to his films as a director, trying to move with the current times in order to reach a wider audience, yet stick with the one subject Bollywood is so well known for – Love. Though his directorial filmography is short, there are very few people who haven’t seen at least one of these films. And along with carrying the big influence he holds from his father when it comes to storytelling, junior Chopra has managed to establish himself as one of the biggest filmmakers of all time, all on his own accord.

BizAsiaLive.com wishes Aditya Chopra a very Happy Birthday.