MUMBAI: A host of Bollywood stars bid farewell to legendary Indian filmmaker Yash Chopra, the “king of romance”, who was cremated in Mumbai after dying in hospital at the age of 80.
Actors who had worked closely with Chopra, such as veteran Amitabh Bachchan and heartthrob Shahrukh Khan along with Salman Khan, Karan Johar, Dilip Kumar with wife Sairo Banu, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Jaya, Madhur Bhandarkar, Anil Kapoor, Sridevi, Boney Kapoor, Kajol, Dimple Kapadia, Rinkie Khanna and others started coming since yesterday at Lilavati hospital, his residence in Juhu and YRF studio in Andheri to pay their last respects.
Tributes poured in for the Hindi cinema legend who died Sunday after being admitted to hospital with dengue fever, following several decades of directing, producing and screen-writing some of India's most-loved movies.
Chopra's body had earlier been placed in his studio, allowing the public to pay their respects before his final journey.
The Mumbai Mirror and Mid Day tabloids published full front-page tributes to Chopra, while the Indian Express remembered “The Maker of Dreams”, describing him as “one of Bollywood's most successful enterprises”.
Some of the industry's biggest names took to Twitter to remember the movie mogul, including Bachchan, who recently turned 70.
“Yash Chopra - 44 years of association of creativity, friendship, fun and family ties”, wrote the actor, who starred in some of Chopra's biggest hits including Deewar, Kabhi Kabhie and Silsila.
Famous playback singer Asha Bhosle, whose daughter committed suicide earlier this month, described Chopra as a family member.
“Just as I was getting over the grief of my daughter, my brother Yash Chopra... has left me,” she wrote.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was quick to honour the late director on Sunday night, describing him as “an icon of Indian cinema” who would be remembered by millions.
“He entertained many generations with his rare creativity,” Singh said. “He had an aesthetic talent to make his films look larger than life. His flourish to essay romance and social drama was unmatched.”
Born on September 27, 1932 in Lahore, now in Pakistan, Chopra was the youngest of eight children, one of whom was elder brother B R Chopra, who was already an established name in the film industry.
Chopra came to Mumbai with Rs 200 in his pocket and dreams of becoming a filmmaker though his family wanted him to take up the profession of engineering.
He started his journey in the film industry as an assistant to I S Johar and later worked under his elder brother, making his directorial debut in 1959 with Dhool Ka Phool.
A trendsetter, Chopra directed Dharamputra, Ittefaq and Indian cinema's first multi-starrer Waqt.
He founded his own production house, Yash Raj films, in the 1970s and made his first movie Daag under the new banner. Chopra became best-known for his romantic and emotional films, with a fondness for picturesque foreign locations, especially in Switzerland. Romance became the main element in Chopra's later films like Chandni, Lamhe, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Dil Toh Pagal Hai and Veer-Zaara and many more.
Yash Chopra gave Sridevi two of the best films in her career, Chandni and Lamhe. Understandably so, the actress is gutted. Speaking to TOI she said: "It's a terrible shock.”
“I am grateful, he gave me Chandni and Lamhe. These films are so special to me. If I have looked my best in these films, all the credit goes to Yashji. My saris and style in Chandni became a big craze. He was a trendsetter in every way. He was so organised that no discussions were needed on the sets.” Chopra is also remembered for making the careers of many Bollywood actors, including Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan.
His 1995 classic Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge is the longest-running movie in Indian cinemas, still drawing audiences to the big screen.
Chopra worked until the final months of his life and his last film Jab Tak Hai Jaan featuring Shahrukh Khan, Anuskha Sharma and Katrina Kaif, the film will be released on November 13.
Chopra told Khan in a televised interview to mark his 80th birthday in September that he was retiring.
He was admitted to Lilavati hospital in Mumbai on October 13 after being diagnosed with dengue, a common mosquito-borne viral infection for which there is no cure, and which is fatal in a small number of cases.
Filmography Dhool Ka Phool (1959), Dharmputra (1961), Waqt (1965), Aadmi Aur Insaan (1969), Ittefaq (1969), Daag (1973), Joshila (1973), Deewaar (1975), Kabhi Kabhie (1976), Trishul (1978), Kaala Patthar (1979), Silsila (1981), Mashaal (1984), Faasle (1985), Vijay (1988), Chandni (1989), Lamhe (1991), Parampara (1992), Darr (1993), Dil To Pagal Hai (1997), Veer-Zaara (2004), Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012)
With additional reporting from "Times of India"