Having directed the King of Romance, Shah Rukh Khan, in three hit films, we take a look at Chopra’s winning formula
Mohabbatein turns 22
Last Updated: 12.19 PM, Oct 28, 2022
Aditya Chopra is a filmmaker, studio executive and film distributor. He is also the Chairman and Managing Director of Yash Raj Films. While he has produced several successful films under the banner, he has directed only four movies in his career spanning 27 years. Of these, three are cult classics that are revered by audiences for their impeccable storyline and nuanced portrayal of middle-class love stories.
His stories are a perfect mix of Indian ethos, romance, tragedy and a happy ending. The memory of his films holds a special place in the audience’s hearts, as they evoke a sense of familiarity and relatability with the characters in the most unexpected circumstances. As his film Mohabbatein turns 22, we check out what makes Chopra’s film stand out from the rest.
Aditya’s debut film, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, is about two Non-Resident Indians, Raj and Simran, living in London. Mohabbatein is the story of three college students who are stuck in a strict college. While Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi is about a couple, Suri and Taani, who are united by an arranged marriage.
While all the films mentioned above have extremely different storylines, there are some things that are in trademark Aditya Chopra style. Here we reveal what that is:
Normal people in extraordinary love stories
Chopra’s characters are normal people, based in simple middle-class surroundings, but the plotline puts those people in the most unexpected of situations, making for extraordinary love stories. Raj (Shah Rukh Khan) and Simran (Kajol) in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge decide to go on a trip to Europe, not knowing that they will soon fall in love, and later fight against Simran’s family to realise their love. The Gurukul boys, Jimmy Shergill, Uday Chopra and Jugal Hansraj in Mohabbatein accept their fate until Raj Aryan (Shah Rukh Khan) enters their lives and encourages them to stand up to Narayan Shankar (Amitabh Bachchan), the principal of the college, for the sake of their love. Surinder Sahni (Shah Rukh Khan) in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi goes through a complete character transformation to impress his wife, Taani (Anushka Shama).
Middle-class Indian values
What makes Chopra’s movies unique is the social setting of his characters. His stories take place in middle-class households and represent middle-class values that touch the hearts of a majority of Indians. The characters seem relatable and the stories do not seem too far from reality. Simran is the quintessential naive Indian girl who does not go against the wishes of her father. The Gurukul boys represent the Indian youth, and Suri and Taani’s arranged marriage is the story of many Indian couples. But the twists and turns in his storylines that kickstart these love stories is exciting for audiences.
Love triumphs all
Chopra’s love stories fill the audience with hope and the courage to fulfill their love stories. In a country where many people are still not allowed to marry according to their wishes, his films are a source of inspiration, as they represent relatable characters who stand up against all odds. His films always carry the message that love triumphs all.
So, what is a quintessential Aditya Chopra film? One that has relatable middle-class characters, a dramatic hindrance to the love story, and a grand fight against all odds that ends in a happy ending. Although Chopra borrows from the tried-and-tested Bollywood masala formula, his filmography is proof that no one does it better than him.
The filmmaker made his directorial comeback with his fourth film, after eight years, in 2016 with Befikre. The romantic drama was about Dharam (Ranveer Singh) and Shyra (Vaani Kapoor) — two carefree young Indians in Paris who develop feelings for each other. Chopra tried something different with this film, as it didn't have the usual tropes mentioned above. This didn't go down well with the audience, as the film bombed at the box office. People didn't take to the poor storyline.