Last month, Yash Chopra was still hale and hearty, as he wrapped up the shoot of his last directorial film, celebrated his 80th birthday and announced that he would hang up his boots as a director.
On September 27, on his 80th birthday, a grand event was held at Yash Raj Studios, called ‘In Conversation With Yash Chopra’. Over two hours, in a chat with one of his favourite actors, Shah Rukh Khan, Chopra spoke about life, a career that spread over five decades and, finally, retirement.
He revealed how filmmaking was never his career plan. He had come to Mumbai to study engineering, which was his family’s dream. “They sent me here to get my passport made so that I could go to England and study engineering,” he said. But he chose otherwise. He said, “Bhaisaab (BR Chopra) told me not to assist him, but I persisted. Mom used to tell me, ‘Apne dil ki suno’ (listen to your heart). Finally, she gave me Rs 200 and said ‘Yeh lo, mera aashirwad’(here’s my blessing).”
During the chat, Chopra recalled several incidents from his career, from the time he began assisting his brother BR Chopra to when he set up his own banner, Yash Raj Productions. He talked about sharing keema-pav with his friend Dilip Kumar and returning as a director with Jab Tak Hai Jaan.
It was then that he announced his retirement. “This will be my last film as a director. There are some calculations that you do in your heart, and now I have decided that I won’t direct a film after this. I think the time has come for me to take a backseat,” he had said.
He added, “I will do other things like helping the younger generation in filmmaking, sharing my experience… My wife has been complaining I don’t give her time, I want to make my wife happy... enjoy life.”
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