Even as Bollywood comes to grips with the sudden death of the legendary Yash Chopra, there those whose pain goes beyond mere words and actions.
For superstar Amitabh Bachchan, who largely credits his successful career and the ‘angry young man’ on-screen persona of the ’70s to Chopra’s guidance as a director, the grief finds avenue in a blog he wrote in the early hours today, upon returning from paying his last respects to an ‘old friend’.
The actor wrote: “An association of 44 years abruptly comes to an end. He went away too soon and too suddenly. He deserved to be with us longer. Yash Chopra, a friend first, a creative legend later, has passed away this evening in the late hours.”
Chopra and Bachchan last met on the latter’s 70th birthday celebrations in Mumbai, ironically on the night the director’s health deteriorated further.
Bachchan added: “I last saw him on my birthday celebrations. He was indisposed and the doctors advised him rest, but he was insistent on coming over. He had made a commitment he said.”
Chopra was amongst the four people who were asked to speak at Bachchan’s birthday celebration, to reminisce about the legendary actor’s journey in cinema.
Bachchan wrote: “His words still ring in my ear and what remains are the resonance of his goodness and feeling that he exuded towards me.
Apart from his praise on my work, what he cherished most was that I had been a good son and above all a good human being. Not many have made such observation. It was a moving tribute.”
Last pictures of Yash Chopra. (Facebook)
Bachchan paid his last respects in the evening, accompanied by daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and is expected to be at the funeral today, which is scheduled to take place at 1.30pm UAE time, starting from the Yash Raj Studios.
“As I sit beside his still and flower decked body in his studio within the portals of the large common patio, there does not pass a moment when all that we shared flashes by,” Bachchan revealed.
“This colossal studio that he built after years of hard work and labor, shall for the next day house his last physical remain. I doubt if he had ever dreamt that this unique and most distinguished facility would find space to accommodate him in the state that we see him today.”
Bachchan’s tribute to his dear friend flashes back to a time when the director started his independent work from a small 6x10 little dress and property storage room in the great V Shantaram’s RajKamal studios.
“Two simple desks occupied the cramped space. He sat on one. His accountant on the other. Paper work, posters, at times dresses for the artists of his film were stored within that room,” wrote Bachchan.
“He and I would spend hours in that little space talking film, scenes, stories, shooting issues and just a lot more.”
The last embrace from a friend companion, creator, and a great human. (FACEBOOK)
One last regret
“I have just one regret with regard to him,” confessed Bachchan.
“For some months lately, he had been calling and telling me to drop by in the early hours of the morning as I returned from the gym for ‘just a chat – no work, no issues, just a chat’. I had promised him that I would, and I never was able to.
“As I sit back in his remembrance I wonder if this was another premonition that he may have had of his departure. Of his limited time...”
Bachchan’s grief is echoed in other associates and members of the Bollywood film fraternity, which expressed ‘shock’ and ‘grief’, with the sudden loss of Chopra, who died of multiple organ failure after suffering from dengue.
On September 27, Chopra celebrated his 80th birthday with a televised interview with close family friend and fellow actor Shah Rukh Khan.
The director’s final swansong, his latest and last film, “Jab Tak Hai Jaan” is scheduled to release of November 12 in UAE cinemas. It is still unclear if the Shah Rukh Khan-Katrina Kaif starrer will release as scheduled.
But for fans and friends such as Bachchan, Chopra’s legacy has been epitomised in the pages of history forever, with the actor adding: “Yash ji, your contribution to the millions that had the privilege to witness your creativity shall be immortal; may we all savour it till our end...”