Yash Chopra ushered in studio power

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By Hindustan Times

There was one love triangle that Yash Chopra scripted to a happy ending. It involved producers, bankers and investors. The celebrated “King of Romance”, who died on Sunday aged 80, brought to the world’s most prolific film industry a corporate-style conglomerate system resembling Hollywood labels, lifting it out of the mire of shoddy mom-and-pop banners.

Yash Raj Films (YRF), the company he founded and headed now by his son Aditya, brought in MBAs, financiers and marketing executives, spun joint ventures and set up offices in New York, London, and Dubai. “He set up the true-blue studio model,” said Siddharth Roy Kapur, MD of studios at DisneyUTV.

In the late nineties, as India embarked on an economic reform programme, Chopra associated himself with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry to usher in systematic market research that measured the entertainment industry in clear numbers — market size, players, revenues, and projections.

“When the time came he was the first to win the confidence of investors to look at the sector with interest,” said Amit Khanna, chairman, Reliance Entertainment.

“Bollywood used to be a black hole and Yash Chopra opened up this small and closed world to everyone, especially investors,” said Timmy Kandhari of Sapphire Professional, a strategic advisory firm.

Kandhari has been associated with the annual industry event, FICCI-FRAMES, and worked with Chopra many times to put together the industry report.

Rana Kapoor, founder and CEO of Yes Bank, YRF's banker, said Chopra brought in “financial prudence, and a foresight of setting up a systemic process-oriented company and a responsible CFO”.

Chopra convinced banks on “how the business of films was not speculation but involved a lot of calculation”, trade analyst Komal Nahta said.

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