Yash Raj Chopra would have been a retired ICS Officer sitting in his farmhouse somewhere on the outskirts of New Delhi and writing his memoirs at best. But that is not what destiny had planned for him. Yash Chopra today is Dr. Yash Chopra, the last of the great stalwarts of Indian cinema, standing tall and ruling his own empire, Yash Raj Films, a name synonymous with some of the most rapid strides taken under his active guidance and according to his own guidelines. Dr. Chopra who has been directing a variety of films during the last fifty years had changed with the changing times which is one of the dominant reasons for his unprecedented success as a maker who has the amazing ability to blend the best in aesthetic and enlightening entertainment with an uncanny eye on the box office and a perfect feel of the pulse of the people. His films have been received with an overwhelming response wherever they have been shown and the expectations have always been soaring and he has rarely failed in living up to the expectations from the classes, the masses, the critics, the pundits and purists of cinema. Dr. Chopra has handed over charge to his son Aditya Chopra who joins his father in taking his banner to greater heights. The sprawling modern studio which has come up in Andheri-West in Mumbai is Aditya's dream which has been given shape by both the father and the son. Dr. Chopra has more than 150 awards for a filmmaker, the Dadasaheb Phalke award. He has been honoured with doctorates from different universities. Books have been written about his films and his technique and style. All this and much more is what goes in his name and the latest is the honour being done by London's Channel 4 which is conducting a long festival of films made by him and other directors who have made films under his banner. And these honours have not touched the basic man in him. He is still rooted to the ground and is as humble as humility can mean.
You have been known as a great dreamer with the ability to give shape to and fulfill your dreams. Tell me, did you ever dream that you would be THE DR. CHOPRA when you started your career?
Frankly, no! I was dreamer even in those early days and I had some dreams but I could never imagine that my dreams would lead me to where I am today.
Then how did your story take step? What made you the success story you are today, the man someone called the pride of India.
It is all the will and the blessing of God. I would be nowhere and be nothing. Next to God I feel it is my passion and my dedication, my honesty and sincerity to my work that has led me step by step. And, thank God nothing has changed in my attitude and approach to my work.
Will you recommend your attitude and approach to the younger filmmakers of today?
Who am I to recommend or advice anyone to do whatever I have done? They have their own world, their own ideas and their own ways of working and getting work done. I can only talk about myself.
Everyone would like to know the secret of your success.
There is no secret at all. My life and my work are like open books. I only know that I have worked very hard on every little thing that I have done. I have let no temptation come in my way. I am doing whatever I am guided by my own conscience which is guided by God and nothing can come between me and my God.
How do you feel after meeting with every success?
I become very alert and more conscious. I believe that my success is a signal for me to work harder. My responsibility only grows with every success. I am not saying this for effect but I have never sat back and reveled in my success. Yes, success has given me a lot of satisfaction and happiness but I have never let success get to my head. I am aware of God watching every step I take. I know His power and that is enough to keep me going and reaching out towards new progress as long as He allows me to.
What do you think of these awards which adorn your showcase?
I feel very happy, naturally. I am a human being and I react to recognition like any other human being but the awards are also a source of inspiration which help me to work better, in coming up with something better than what I have done and has been recognized and appreciated for.
What do you think of the festival called "The World of Yash Chopra" being conducted by Channel 4.
I humbly accept it as a great honour for all of us Indian filmmakers. The festival will show my films and the films directed by younger filmmaker under my banner to an entirely new audience. We at Yash Raj Films are making all out efforts to make all films reach a global market. We have been succeeding and this festival will give a greater boost to our efforts.
Are you going to participate in the festival?
The only way I will be participating is by talking about my films and my banner. I will not be going to London because there is so much work to be done here. I am very happy about the festival and am eagerly awaiting the reaction of this new audience to our films. It will help us in planning our next moves.
There is talk about Yash Raj Films going for the big kill by making ten films at a time.
It is impossible to make ten films at the same time and do justice to them. Yes, we are making films on a regular basis. We have Kabul Express which is a very different film under my banner. We have just completed shooting of Dhoom 2, the sequel. We have Jhoom Barabar Jhoom and Tara Rum Pum on the floors. We are planning some other films with some new directors but it is still too early to talk about them now.
What about your own film? It has been a long time since you made Veer Zaara. What about directing your next film which people are as usual waiting for eagerly.
What will I do? Where else can I go? I have to direct my own film. I have had my hands and mind full with all kinds of activities. But there is an idea taking shape in my mind. I will complete working on the idea and then give it to some good writers to work on. But where are the good writers? The lack of good writers is one of the greatest problems of this Industry. Sometimes I feel shocked at what I call the intellectual bankruptcy in our industry. It was never like this before.
What do you think about Adity Chopra's Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge still running in its eleventh year at the Maratha Mandir in Mumbai?
I feel very happy for Adi who has created such an extraordinary record with his very first film as a director. It is a very proud achievement for both father and son. It speaks volumes for Adi's abilities and what he can do in the future.
How do you feel sitting in this new and elegant office designed for you?
It is a perfect atmosphere to dream some of my best dreams for the future, what else can I say?