Yash Chopra, the movie moghul, who died last week was important to Switzerland in many ways. When I say important I mean in cultural, tourism, and commercial terms. The king of romance, as he was known, was well known for his preference of the Swiss Alps for shooting the songs in his films. Now why is this important for Switzerland? The reason is that seeing the beauty of Switzerland, Indians chose it as their preferred tourist destination. Gradually, cultural exchanges also took place and it brought the people of both countries together. Till then Indians didn’t know where Switzerland was, or, had any experience of the beauty of this country. Now most film directors take their crew and actors there because they think that having the Swiss countryside in their films could bring certain success. And this assumption was buttressed by the success of Yash Chopra’s films.
It’s no wonder then that Switzerland conferred an Swiss Ambassador’s Award on him in 2010 which was handed over by none other than actress Ursula Andress. Chopra excelled in the romantic genre of films and romantic feelings were given a fillip when conducted against the idyllic Swiss countryside. Fans loved his films and wanted more. He gave them the best and was preparing to shoot a song for his forthcoming film Jab Tak Hai Jaan in Switzerland when he caught the dengue fever and died. They say it was dengue but old age also was catching up with him.
He leaves behind a vast oeuvre of films including super hits like Deewar, Silsila, and Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. He is also responsible for the rise to super stardom of India’s foremost actor Amitabh Bachchan, who played the lead role in Deewar. He is also credited with the rise of the heartthrob of young people, Shahrukh Khan through films like Darr and Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge.
He is also credited with upholding Indian moral values while flirting with bold themes. His heroines always wore the Indian sari, that too in chiffon. His films did reflect the aspirations of a newly created generation, willing to forget the trauma of colonialism and launch themselves into the world as computer programmers and doctors.
Known to be genial and popular, he will be missed by the members of the film industry who worked with him and his countless fans. He will also be missed by people of Switzerland as he was the one who had forged cultural ties between India and the country.
Yash Chopra Rest In Peace!