Indian film director Yash Chopra passes away
22 October, 2012
Renowned Indian film director Yash Chopra died in hospital aged 80 on Sunday after suffering dengue fever, his production company said, ending a decades-long career of flamboyant Bollywood blockbusters.
Dubbed "the king of romance" for his emotional and dramatic tales about the travails of love, Chopra was best known for classic hit movies including 'Deewar' (Wall), 'Chandni', 'Silsila' and 'Darr' (Fear). He worked until the final months of his life and his last film 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan' (Until I am Alive), featuring superstars Shahrukh Khan and Katrina Kaif, will be released on November 13.
Chopra told Khan in a televised interview to mark his 80th birthday in September that he was retiring.
"It is with deep regret that we announce the sad demise of Mr Yash Chopra, who breathed his last at around 5:30pm today," Yash Raj, the production company that he founded, said in a statement.
Chopra 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 that is fatal in a small number of cases.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh paid wholesome tribute to the late director, describing him as "an icon of Indian cinema".
"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. He established the popularity of Indian cinema internationally and was honoured by many governments. He will be remembered by millions."
Indian media had previously reported that Lahore-born Chopra was recovering well under medical care.
Bollywood director Madhur Bhandarkar said on Twitter he was shocked by the loss of a movie legend. "Romance in cinema will always be incomplete," he added.
Yash Raj Chopra was born in Lahore, and began his career as an assistant director to IS Johar and his elder brother, BR Chopra. He made his directorial debut with 'Dhool Ka Phool' in 1959, a melodrama about illegitimacy and followed it with the hard-hitting social drama 'Dharmputra' (1961). Encouraged by the success of both films, the Chopra brothers made several more movies together during the late '50s and '60s. Chopra then rose to prominence after the commercially and critically successful drama, 'Waqt' (1965), which pioneered the concept of multi-starters in Bollywood.
In 1973, Chopra founded his own production company, Yash Raj Films, and launched it with 'Daag: A Poem of Love' (1973), a successful melodrama about a polygamous man. In 1989, Chopra directed the commercially and critically successful cult film 'Chandni' which became instrumental in ending the era of violence in Bollywood and bringing back music into Hindi films.
Chopra then directed and produced the cult classic 'Lamhe' in 1991, considered by critics and Chopra himself as his best work to date. The film was critically acclaimed and became one of the biggest Bollywood hits in the overseas market. Chopra directed three more romantic films, all starring Shahrukh Khan; 'Dil To Pagal Hai' (1997), 'Veer-Zaara' (2004) and 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan' (2012) before he announced his retirement from directing in 2012. Chopra has won several film awards, including six National Film Awards and 11 Filmfare Awards including four Filmfare Awards for Best Director. The government of India honoured him with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2001 and the Padma Bhushan in 2005 for his contributions towards Indian cinema. BAFTA presented him with a lifetime membership for his contribution to the films, making him the first Indian to receive the honour in the 59-year history of the academy.