Planet Bollywood
A Tribute To Yash Johar
- Shruti Bhasin           Let us know what you think about this feature article

He was a husband, he was a father, he was Yash uncle to many industry stars, and he was respected by the entire film industry for bringing some unforgettable films to the big screen.

We will journey together into the past and remember a man whose films will forever be a part of film history.

Yash Johar worked with some the industry’s biggest and best stars including: Raaj Kumar, Dilip Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Rishi Kapoor, Shah Rukh Khan, Juhi Chawla, Sridevi . . . the list is impressive and so were his films.

Who was Yash Johar? He was a man who loved to be part of the movie scene. He began his career in 1952 when he was involved in many Indian and foreign production units. He worked with stars such as Sunil Dutt and on many projects with Dev Anand (Guide, Jewel Thief, Hare Rama Hare Krishna, etc.).

In 1976, he made a bold move by creating his own production company: Dharma Productions Pvt. Ltd., which became only Dharma Productions in 1995.

A look back on Yash Johar films:

Duniya was a typical story with plenty of plots to keep the viewer glued to the screen. Legendary actor, Dilip Kumar, played Mohan Kumar, a man falsely accused of murder and loses his family. He wants to take revenge on the villains who turned his world upside down. Muqaddar Ka Faisla, starring Raaj Kumar, was also a story of revenge, where a man named Pandit Krishna Kant loses his family. He is a man with no wealth and lives on his principles. When he realizes that he has nothing in his life, he decides to forget his principles and join hands with criminals. Both these films had powerful underlying themes, which made it more fun to watch just for the moral of the story.

Dostana was the beginning of films that showed the true depth of friendship. It starred Amitabh Bachchan, Zeenat Aman, and Shatrughan Sinha. Vijay and Ravi are good friends who love the same girl, Sheetal, but the main villain in the film, Daga, causes a rift and misunderstanding between them, but they overcome all odds to fight the evildoers.

Agneepath was one of few films that I found myself watching more than once until I had to return it. It had a National Award performance by Amitabh as a man named Vijay trying to get revenge on Danny Denpongza. Since the 1970s, Amitabh had the name Vijay in many films, which proved to be successful for him and even Mithun won awards and praise as a supporting character in Agneepath. This is a must see for all!

The mid-1990s brought the release of Gumrah. This was an average Mahesh Bhatt film, produced by Johar. It starred Sridevi as a famous singer who is implicated by Rahul Roy in a drug trafficking scheme and at the same time she is in search for her father. Sanjay Dutt plays her biggest fan and goes all the way to Hong Kong to save her.

1998 saw the release of 2 Johar productions: the first being Duplicate and second being Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. In Duplicate, Shah Rukh Khan got to woo Juhi Chawla as Babloo and Sonali Bendre as Manoo Dada. SRK got his first double role in this average film. The plot had many ups and downs, but it proved to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship with India’s most demanded actor and Dharma Productions.

I still remember waiting almost 1 hour at a local movie theater to see Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. I was 18 years old and I felt that the sincere performances by Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol was like looking into a mirror of youth. I was once like the college Anjali and learned to appreciate my life as it was. I think we all go through that stage where we feel our heartbeat and then . . . kuch kuch hota hai. I think what I remember most is the magic of the film and the phrase: “Mujhse Dosti Karoge!” Thanks to Yash Johar we learned that "pyar dosti hai" (Love Is Friendship). This film won awards in 1998 and remains a classic hit.

3 years later, Karan Johar directed his second film, after KKHH, and Dharma Productions brought together the most popular and biggest stars of 3 separate generations. This movie became a larger film than the 1965 Waqt, which also had the biggest star cast of its time. Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham brought us laughter and sadness, but we also discovered the appreciation and love one holds for their elders. K3G, as its known to many, will always be remembered for its heartwarming story and some of the best scenes and dialogues of 2001.

The final production of Yash Johar is the memorable Kal Ho Naa Ho. Son, Karan, took the back seat and gave charge to his friend Nikhil Advani to create a story about living every day to the fullest because kya pata, kal ho naa ho. Inspiring lyrics and music, the re-birth of Saif Ali Khan as an actor, the on-screen chemistry of Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta, and the motherly love of Jaya Bachchan made us cry, laugh, and think about being happy to be alive. Sometimes we never realize that our closest friend can be the person we can walk with for the rest of our lives. We all have met that one person who guides us into changing our life for the better. Kal Ho Naa Ho was one of the best movies of 2003 and won awards for story, movie, acting, and music.

Throughout the years Yash Johar was honored with popular choice awards for best film, story, producer, etc. If you watched the 2004 Zee Cine Awards, you were probably impressed like I was by how many stars came out to tribute Yash Johar for a LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD. A tearful Johar thanked everyone and you could not help but feel his emotion. He won many awards this year and his contribution to Indian cinema will forever remain alive.

Karan Johar will make his father proud by continuing the legacy of making films that provide wholesome family entertainment.


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