By Atul Mishra Last Updated:
If there is anything that Bollywood is known for, all around the world, it’s the love stories that our films portray on the big screen. And the one man who should be credited for giving us some iconic love stories, he is none other than Yash Chopra. Today (September 27, 2018) marks the 86th birthday of late Yash ji whom the world lost 6 years ago, in 2012.
The first Indian to get a lifetime membership in BAFTA, and the recipient of prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2001, Yash Chopra’s films still inspire many scripts and stories in Bollywood. And today, on the occasion of his 86th birthday, we have brought to you his love story with wife, Pamela Yash Chopra. So, without further ado, here is Yash Chopra and Pamela Chopra’s love story.
In an interview with Rediff, Pamela Chopra reveals that the first time she laid her eyes on Yash Chopra, was at a cricket event in Delhi. But that wasn’t the time the two met face to face. Pamela ji recalled:
“I first saw him at this star cricket show in Delhi. Two of my cousins were completely star-struck and they wanted to go for this show. My father, being a military officer, had easy access, so he got us three passes. Yash was seated just a few rows in front of us. My cousins pointed him out to me. Yash turned around and saw us. My cousins were very pretty and you know, he had an eye for pretty girls, so he kept turning around throughout the match. But we did not meet or talk to each other”.
Adding further as to when the two first met and talked, Pamela ji reveals that it was a sangeet event in Mumbai. She said:
“I think the first time I spoke to him was at Yashji's niece's wedding sangeet. I was in Mumbai for my holidays and staying at Simi's (Simi Garewal, they are cousins) home. They were invited and took me along. They said I would be a great asset as I sing Punjabi songs. I met him very briefly at first. He was too busy trying to convince Hema Malini to do a film. He and Hema were on the balcony the whole time. He came in only when the singing started. I was singing. He came up to me and complimented me on my singing. That was it”.
Pamela ji also added here that she knew him as a filmmaker but was not really his fan. She said:
“I was a complete film buff. Every Friday when a film released, we would watch the matinee show. But I was not a Yash Chopra fan; I was more of a Raj Kapoor fan”.
Not many know that the man known for love stories, had an arranged marriage himself. When asked to give details about Yash ji and her marriage, Pamela ji shared:
“Our families had a common friend in (actor) Romesh Sharma's mother. She had seen me at a wedding in Delhi where I was singing and thought I would be ideal for Yash. She was not wrong because we had a wonderful marriage. She rang up bhabhiji (B R Chopra's wife) in Mumbai and told her about me. As luck would have it, Yash was coming to Delhi for auditions”.
She further added:
“Romesh and his father came to meet me at work. I was working with British Airways at the time. They took me out for lunch. They did not mention Yashji at all. Romesh Sharma is a very entertaining person and we had a wonderful time. They told bhabiji that I was working, had short hair! Then my parents and I went to meet him. That meeting was a disaster because he wouldn't speak. They left us alone and we did not have a word to say to each other. After an embarrassing silence, he said, 'I suppose we have met before.' I asked, 'Where?' He said 'I met you twice, first at the cricket match (where I thought he was looking at my pretty cousins) and the second, at my niece's wedding sangeet.' When I came back home, my parents asked what I thought of him. I said, 'Theek hain, nothing great.' He told his family, 'Ghanti nahi baji (The bell didn't ring, meaning it didn't work for him).”
So, how exactly did the two end up being together? On being asked this, Pamela ji said:
“Yash missed his flight and had to spend another day in Delhi, so another meeting was arranged. This time, it went very well. I saw a completely different side of Yash. He was wearing a lungi and kurta, sitting on the floor and playing a chamach on the dholki and Romesh's sister was playing the dholak and they were singing. It was great fun. We were relaxed because we thought that this match won't happen. When you meet someone for matrimony, there is a certain tension. This time, there was no tension because we had both decided we were not going to go ahead with the wedding. Strangely enough, I started liking him and he reciprocated. He went to Mumbai and told his family 'Ghanti baj gayi ('The bell has rung)”.
When Pamela ji was asked if her life after marriage with such an established filmmaker change at all, she replied:
“It didn't. There was some unpleasantness between Yash and his brother (B R Chopra). All the discipline I had learned I brought to my household. Of course, there used to be story sessions in the house which would upset the routine completely. Four, five writers would arrive early in the morning and sit till late. I had to arrange lunch for all. That was a little disturbing. There were also music sittings at home. I loved listening, but he never invited me to be part of it, so I would be in the bedroom. When he realised I was interested in music, he would play the song for me if he had recorded it”.
Was it at all disturbing for her to have no privacy in her own home? Pamela ji expressed:
“Yes, but I realised early in my married life that if I want any part of Yash, I would have to join him in his work otherwise I would never get to see him. He was the kind of guy, who, in the middle of the night, would get up and start scribbling something and then go back to sleep. He was very involved with his first independent film (Daag: A Poem Of Love, 1973). Since it was his first film outside B R Films, he had to prove himself. Slowly, he started involving me”.
Was Yashi ji a romantic person like the heroes of his films? She answered:
“He was romantic in his movies, but in real life, he was a very practical man. There was a child inside him, like if he was hungry he had to eat at that very moment. If he was sleepy, he would just leave everything and go to sleep. He was a completely different person at home and at work. At work, he was very efficient, and in control of things. At home, he didn't bother. He allowed me to manage the house the way I wanted to”.
Also, Pamela ji reveals that the only thing that would upset her was when Yash ji used to forget their children’s birthdays. She recalled:
“The only thing that would upset me was if he missed birthdays of the children because they were so attached to him. Adi would be very disappointed. It happened once or twice. He never encouraged coming on the sets. Actually in the Chopra family, they never liked their women coming on the sets. We would go on the outdoor shoots. When the children started going to school, they could go on outdoor shoots during the holidays only”.
Pamela ji was asked what would she do when Yash ji would be out for shooting for his films, she replied:
“Yes, I was at home taking care of my two children, Aditya and Uday. It was not difficult at all. I knew he would not be hands on with the kids because he was in his own world. My husband didn't even know what class they were in, never went to a parent-teacher meeting. But I never complained. Switzerland happened because we could no longer go to Kashmir. That was the only reason”.
Pamela Chopra, on being asked, if Yash Chopra’s daily routine which went by around many beautiful actresses ever bothered her, she quipped:
“Sometimes, yes it did (laughs). All the pretty ones made me jealous. He would pay them a lot of attention. Later, I got used to it because for Yash his family was also very important”.
She also revealed about Yash ji’s rumoured fling with legendary actress, Mumtaz and said:
“Actually, there was more gossip before I got married. There was this gossip that he was involved with this heroine and they were on the verge of getting married. In fact, that was the only question I asked Romesh when he met me. I asked him what is this thing between Mumtaz (Mumtaz worked with Yash Chopra in the 1969 film Aadmi Aur Insaan) and Yash? He said it was nothing. He said Mumtaz is not a filmi, dainty heroine type at all and they are very good friends. He said there was nothing more. That is not the truth, but never mind”.
But then, Pamela ji also revealed that as the years went by, he kind of eased into things and got softened up as well:
“It was a remarkable change. When I was not married to him, he was an angry man on the sets. Any mistake from anyone on the sets or from the production, and he would fire that person. He was famous for not having lunch breaks when he was shooting outdoors. He was a very hard taskmaster. But slowly, he softened”.
On being asked that Chopra bahus don’t go on the sets but Rani Mukerji works as a leading actress, Pamela Chopra said:
“I don't have any problem with that. There was a tradition in the Chopra family that the Chopra women don't act or go on the sets. But in the face of love, you don't make such stupid distinctions”.
Elaborating further if Rani is a kind of bahu, she had always wanted, Pamela ji opened up:
“I don't know about that. I can tell you that she is the perfect wife for Adi. Adi is a different person these days. He is so happy, always smiling. When he was younger, he would sing walking up the stairs; he has started doing that again. He danced at his wedding! (laughs). She has changed him for the better. And if he is happy, why should I not be happy?”
So, here we are guys. This was Yash Chopra and Pamela Chopra’s love story. How did you like the love story of the man who himself has given the greatest love stories on the silver screen and shaped the world of romance for us? Share your views in the comments section below.