Members of the South Indian film industry remember the king of romance and his long celluloid journey. K.R.Manigandan reports

Dear Yashji, You won’t be hearing this now. I wish I had told you this while you were alive. We admired you a lot, we got our confidence out of your work. We were in awe of your personality. Thank you Yashji. I know it’s a one-sided conversation now. But, I have had the privilege of long conversations with you. I don’t know whether I clearly emulated my admiration for you then. Doesn’t matter now, many more generations will admire you. Your family will enjoy the benefits of what you have done. What matters for an artiste, is the applause. While I offer my condolences to your family, I rejoice in the life you have lived.

Kamal Haasan, actor

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I met Yash Chopra recently at Amitabh Bachchan’s birthday party. He had the kindest thing to say about Bachchan sir. The legendary Yashji, who celebrated his 80th birthday recently had just completed making his last film. He has set a path for others to follow.

Sameera Reddy, actor

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I never knew him personally and have only known him from his films. He is called the king of romance and I completely agree. My favourite film of his is Deewar. That was the film in which I first fell in love with Amitabh. I loved his audacity in doing a film like Silsila. His visual imagery was amazing. There were strong women characters who were portrayed in a dignified manner in his films. Looking at what he has accomplished… he lived a full life.

Gautham Vasudev Menon, director

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Yashji has built an empire by his sheer talent and goodwill. To be a part of the spearheading force in the film industry till the last day of life is the biggest achievement any person can dream of. He knew everybody by name and would appreciate my work every time he met me. He would even remember the characters I had played. He will be truly missed.

Madhavan, actor

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I haven’t worked with Yashji though I have met him on a few occasions. Once, he came to Chennai to meet me at AVM studios. He wanted me to choreograph the dances in Dil to Pagal Hai but I couldn’t do it because of other commitments.

Prabhu Deva, director-choreographer

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Respect, love and admiration for Yashji and his legacy… may God bless his soul!

A.R. Rahman, music director

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It is the end of a great era. Whenever one talks of romance in films, the name that crops up is that of Yash Chopra. His death is a loss to the industry.

Vishal, actor

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Whenever I met Yashji I never missed the sparkle in his eyes. He would come to the sets with the curiosity and eagerness of a first-time director. He would ask several questions about lighting and camera. Once, while working on the film Rab Ne Bana De Jodi, a very emotional scene between Shah Rukh and Anushka had to be shot. She was nervous as that was her first film. It was a difficult shot as it was a lengthy one in which the camera goes round the two. When it was done, Yashji had tears in his eyes. He walked up to me and patted my back saying, “Beta, you have done a great job.” He did not stop with that. He turned around and congratulated the focus puller and trolley pusher as well. Then, turning to the production men, he told them, “Give them each Rs. 5,000 immediately for the work they have done. They have done a great job.”

Later, I got to know that the focus puller had been working for the last 35 years and no director had ever appreciated his work like the way Yashji had done.

It’s amazing that Yashji had been on the top of the game for 53 years. It is indeed a sad day for Indian cinema.

Ravi K. Chandran, cinematographer

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