Jab Tak Hai Jaan..a prophetic title in retrospect. Perfect for a man who worked till the last year of his life with the medium that he loved, and had shaped and redefined. Call it a coincidence but for some reason, I started watching my favourite Yash Chopra films in the past one week and marvelled once again at just how sophisticated his cinema sense was. And I do not refer to his matchless aesthetic sense when I say that. It was something more. Something bigger, finer than visible beauty. Yash Chopra in a nutshell was a man who believed in love. In humanism. In what can only be described as tehzeeb that translates into a certain restraint even in the most trying moments. His characters seldom if ever lose it to the point of ugliness. That scene in Trishul when Shashi Kapoor’s Shekhar discovers accidentally that his car keys have been stolen by business rival Vijay (Amitabh Bachchan) and that he is also now trying to steal his girl-friend, there are no angry accusations. Just a disbelieving look that someone can stoop so low and a laugh and a joke to cover the discomfort the moment has caused.
Or that scene in Kabhi Kabhi when Shashi Kapoor’s Vijay Khanna realises that the poet he has always idolised is his wife’s first love. He is shocked, a bit shaken and then a loud laugh later, he ponders over a drink, “woh aurat jo aapke bacche ki maa banti hai..bees saal aapke saath iss tarah guzaarti hai jaise paani khusk aur banjar zameen par barasta aur phir mard ye soche ki usska koi maazi tha ya nahin..kisi si mili thi ya nahin..aisi baatein soch kar mard apne aap ko gira deta hai.” His overwhelmed wife cries and says later, “Tum insaan ke roop mein devta ho ya devta ke roop mein insaan” and he says, “Iss duniya mein aadmi insaan ban jaye toh bahut badi baat hai.” Aah the art of conversation..no one crafted it better than Yash Chopra.