Therefore, it was all but expected that Juhi would issue a eulogy of sorts on the occasion of the late director’s fifth death anniversary, which is being observed across India this month. In her heartfelt message, the actor shared some memories she has of ‘Yash ji’ from the course of her career.
“I got to work with Yash ji first in the film Chandni, where he gave me the chance to do a guest appearance; it was a lead role opposite Vinod Khanna. It was a very brief appearance but it was a huge film at that time and I was very new in the film industry,” Pinkvilla quoted Juhi as saying. “Then I got to work with him in Aaina. His wife Pam ji and Honey Irani had written the script and they were like the hands-on producers.”
Juhi continued, “A year or two later, I got to be signed on to Darr which was Yash ji’s production and direction. It was a huge film for me! I was just making it in the industry and getting somewhere at that time so it was a very big step. Yash ji, again, had called me over, sat me down and gone through the entire story with me.”
According to Juhi, this pre-production meeting was the first that she had ever had. “I remember there was no other film that I had ever been told the entire story of. We used to sign the film on the basis of who the lead actor was, which production house was making it and so on. We were told what it might be like in three or four lines. But things were different in Yash ji’s productions,” she recalled. “Now when I look back, I realise they used to work on their script so well and knew what they were making. I wasn’t even a big star at that time but they would sit me down and tell me the entire story so that I knew what I was getting into. Also, I remember that he was open to my comments and would ask ‘What did you think of it?’ That was amazing as I was a very new star and he was a very big producer-director.”
Juhi has many fond memories from her days on Darr in particular which she owes to Yash. “I remember in Darr, we were going to shoot in Switzerland and it was a very long schedule of 20-25 days. Yash ji wanted everything ready before hand. Neeta Lulla was doing my clothes and I remember she had to get 30 to 40 outfits ready way before we even left,” she shared. “We were given a room in his house where basic makeup was done and tried on all the outfits, took quick pictures and created a look book so that Yash ji would know exactly what looked like in an outfit. Whatever he didn’t like was not going to be taken – that’s how well he would plan things.”
Juhi claimed she had never worked with a more organised production house before Darr. “Today I know everything is very compartmentalised. You have ready scripts and everything is planned out. But back then, it was all free-flowing. Scenes would get written on the sets only” said the veteran heroine. “But in Yash ji’s films was very well planned and beautifully executed.”
Of course, there was much more to the legendary film-maker than just his films. “Yash ji was such a wonderful person! Of course, he was very senior so I was always in awe of him but he very warm,” added Juhi. “His sets would have the yummiest foods and all of us used to sit and edit together, whether it was at home or in Switzerland. In fact, I remember for that entire schedule, we were all in one huge chalet…Shah Rukh Khan, myself, Yash ji, Pam ji. The cook had been flown in from India,” she revealed.
“In the evenings, we would come back from shooting and get dinner. After that, everybody would sit down in the drawing room where Pam ji would sing and Yash ji would tell us stories from his previous films, etc. It was such a wonderful time,” Juhi remarked.
The Gulaab Gang star had yet another anecdote to share about her mentor. “In Chandni I played Vinod ji’s love interest who falls ill and died. We were shooting the death scenes and my character was supposed to be in the hospital so the makeup artist gave me dark circles around my eyes to make me look sallow,” Juhi reminisced. “But Yash ji saw me and said, ‘Nahin, yeh zyada ho gaya hai… kam karo. Heroine hamesha khoobsurat lagni chahiye (This is too much… heroines should always looks beautiful)’.”
Thereafter, Juhi always made sure she looked her best in all her films. “His words stayed with me for so long; I learned that heroine must always look good. I took what Yash ji said very seriously and decided that I shall always try to look my best and that’s what I did in all my films afterwards.”
Have something to add in the story? Share it in the comments below.