Yash Chopra was attempting to switch tides with' Chandni' at a time when violent films had reached a saturation point. The master filmmaker asked Boney Kapoor to convince Sridevi to be a part of the film
Sridevi Death Anniversary 2024: At a time when violent films were the flavour of the season, Yash Chopra decided to make a film like 'Chandni' in 1989 starring the ever so glamorous and daring actress Sridevi, whose weapon of choice on the screen was intense drama with a dash of humour. Sridevi commenced her acting career at a very young age and went on to do several Pan-Indian films, winning multiple accolades. She tragically died on February 24, 2018, in UAE. Here's a trip down memory lane to understand how Sridevi played a significant role in reviving the YRF banner.
In an interview with Karan Johar, long back he had said, "Our industry had reached a saturation point of violence. I said, 'Okay, I'll do the biggest gamble of my life. Whatever happens, I won't make a film with a formula. I'll make a film which touches my heart."
In the recently released series, 'The Romantics', which paid tribute to the master filmmaker Yash Chopra and his legacy spoke in detail about how Chandni changed the game for YRF. The late Sridevi also played a huge role in the success of the film.
Until 'Chandni', Yash Chopra had never worked with Sridevi but was impressed with her performance in the Tamil film 'Moondram Pirai' which was shown to him by Amitabh Bachchan. In the series, Anil Kapoor recalled how Sridevi was the top star at the time and Chopra didn't know how to approach her. He asked my brother (Boney Kapoor) to speak to her. So my brother flew down to Chennai to talk to her mother. It didn’t matter to her who Yash Chopra was who has made such great films, it was just the money.”
After getting Sridevi on board, the next challenge was the costumes of Sridevi's character. While Yash Chopra wanted an all-white wardrobe for Sridevi, the actress believed that she would look dull in them. An old interview clip of Yash Chopra had him telling Karan Johar how Sridevi walked up to him and said, “Yash ji, why this all white? This is so dull.” He then told her, “I have faith in you as an actor, in your performance, if you have faith in me as a director, I like to present you as I want.” After Sridevi, her mother came to him and said, “White in our community is not considered festive at all.” Yash Chopra's wife Pamela recalled how Yash Chopra told Sridevi's mother to trust his vision and tried to convince her.
Rishi Kapoor revealed that he was approached to do the film when he was working on Vijay. In the series, Rishi Kapoor also mentioned that if 'Chandni' did not work Yash Chopra would have closed shop because he knew this was his last bullet.
To add to it, the industry’s reaction after the film’s premiere was “tepid and lukewarm”, as revealed by Karan Johar. People complained that it was “too long, too many songs” and that it was “not a commercial film”. Yash Chopra revealed that a distributor refused to release the picture after these reports came out. "A lot of messages were passed that 'Another flop is coming. Don't give them theatres'," said Yash Chopra.
However, the audience wholeheartedly accepted 'Chandni'. The film did wonders for the industry. Karan Johar quipped, "It had gone against what the entire trade had predicted."
In the series, a film journalist noted, "Chandni benefitted from Sridevi more than Sridevi benefitted from the film at that time because she was a real big deal."