The Yash Raj Films (YRF) studio in suburban Mumbai was teeming with the who’s who of the Hindi film industry on Monday. Superstars, film personalities, starlets and fans streamed in and out the whole morning, paying their last respects to ‘King of Romance’ Yash Chopra, who passed away at the age of 80 on Sunday.
Mr. Chopra’s body was kept at a hall in the YRF studio to let everyone pay homage. Actors Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan were by the side of the Chopra family throughout Sunday night. Rani Mukherjee, Karan Johar, Rishi and Ranbir Kapoor, yesteryear actor Prem Chopra, acclaimed director Shyam Benegal, Sridevi and Boney Kapoor, actor Sarika, choreographer Saroj Khan and many other celebrities offered their condolences at the studio. The lane outside the studio was packed with fans and eager onlookers.
Mr. Chopra was cremated in the afternoon at a star-studded funeral amid tight security. His body was draped in floral garlands and wreaths and taken to the crematorium at Pawan Hans in an ambulance around 3 p.m., accompanied by the veteran filmmaker’s wife and sons Aditya and Uday.The crematorium had turned into a fortress by then, with heavy police deployment on the road outside. A rush of people eager to catch a glimpse of the stars created chaos outside the venue. Police vans were positioned outside the funeral area and pavements were barricaded with ropes to prevent the crowds from spilling out on the road.
Onlookers perched themselves on the skywalk, compound walls, lampposts and road dividers leading to traffic snarls on the arterial road.
Most of the stars arrived at the funeral ground in a private bus. Designer Manish Malhotra, actor Boman Irani, producer Mukesh Bhatt, director Kiran Rao, actor Poonam Dhillon were among those who came for the funeral. Mr. Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan attended the funeral as well.
“The industry is nothing without Yash Chopra. He defined the industry. He was a father figure and a wonderful filmmaker. His life is an inspiration for us,” said filmmaker Sudhir Mishra at the funeral venue.
The industry’s guardian
Director Subhash Ghai, who paid a visit to the studio, had told The Hindu on Sunday: “I cannot express the pain and shock. I was quite taken aback by the news of his death. His contribution to the industry is huge. We have all grown up with him. He was the guardian of the industry.”
Other actors recalled the warmth of Mr. Chopra’s personality and the easy atmosphere he created on the sets.
Speaking of his association with Mr. Chopra on Sunday, lyricist Javed Akhtar recalled how he started writing lyrics “at his insistence.”
“He made all kinds of films. There was a certain decency, finesse and class to his movies,” Mr. Akhtar said.