Jab Tak Hai Jaan will be Yash Chopra's final film as director, Bollywood's ‘king of romance' announced on Thursday.
Chopra's disclosure, made at an event marking his 80th birthday with actor Shah Rukh Khan by his side, took the Indian film industry by surprise. "I think I've had enough Shah Rukh," Chopra replied when Khan asked him about his next project.
"I have always lived according to what my heart tells me," he said. "I won't make any film after 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan'."
Regarded as the country's king of celluloid romance, Chopra has also proved his mettle with intensely emotional and tragic movies, many of which went on to become box-office blockbusters.
Born in 1932 in Lahore, now in Pakistan, the film-maker was favoured by leading Indian actors with his movies seen as a sure-fire way to become a hit with audiences.
On Thursday, Chopra reminisced about a Bollywood career that spanned five decades, narrating how he came to Mumbai with Rs. 200 in his pocket, hoping to make it as a film director.
Since then, Chopra has made some of Indian cinema's most memorable films such as Deewar, Kabhi Kabhie, Silsila and Chandni. His flamboyant style of film-making, movies filmed in exotic locales and mellifluous music became a hallmark, endearing him to filmgoers.
Chiffon sarees and the Swiss Alps are so synonymous with Chopra's style of film-making that Switzerland Tourism even offered visitors a guided tour of the places where the director filmed some of his most famous songs and scenes.
Riding on his success, Chopra established Yash Raj Films, one of Bollywood's biggest production houses, churning out at least three movies a year. In November, the film studio announced its foray into Hollywood, signing on actors such as Nicole Kidman and Jason Bateman for its overseas productions.
Chopra also produced Indian cinema's longest-running blockbuster, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), which marked the debut of his son Aditya as director.
"I have never made romantic films. I have made films on human relations, and humans are complicated people," he said.
Jab Tak Hai Jaan, with Chopra at the helm for the last time, opens in cinemas in November, eight years after his last project Veer-Zaara, a passionate tale of love across borders.
The film features Shah Rukh Khan, one of Bollywood's biggest stars, along with Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma.
"I am so happy with the film," Chopra said. "You always eat the tastiest dish at the end of your meal, that is how it is."
Khan, who starred in four of Chopra's films, said he was both surprised and saddened by his decision to stop directing movies.
"I always tell everyone that if you do one film in your life, it should be a Yash Chopra film," Khan said.