Transition: A cinematic icon goes timeless

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NEW DEHLI – Legendary Hindi filmmaker Yash Chopra – who redefined romance in Bollywood – passed away on Sunday after suffering from dengue fever — ending a decades-long career of flamboyant blockbusters. He was 80.

Dubbed “the king of romance” for his emotional and dramatic tales, the octogenarian director was best known for classic hit movies, including “Deewar”, “Chandni”, “Silsila”, “Darr”, Lamhe” and “Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge”.

The veteran filmmaker – who was born in Lahore on September 27, 1932 – breathed his last at Mumbai’s Lilavati Hospital, a spokesperson said. Chopra, who was suffering from dengue fever, died of multiple organ failure and is survived by wife Pamela and two sons – Aditya and Uday.

“He died of multi-organ failure. He was in the ICU,” a hospital official said, adding that Chopra was admitted to the hospital on October 13.

He worked until the final months of his life and his last flick “Jab Tak Hai Jaan”, featuring superstars Shah Rukh Khan and Katrina Kaif, will be released on November 13.

Chopra’s recent disclosure, made at an event marking his 80th birthday last month with actor Khan by his side, took the Indian film industry by surprise.

“I think I’ve had enough, Shah Rukh,” the Hindustan Times reported him as saying when Khan asked him about his next project.

At the same event, Chopra narrated how he came to Mumbai with 200 rupees in his pocket, hoping to make it as a film director.

“It is with deep regret that we announce the sad demise of Mr Yash Chopra, who breathed his last at around 5:30pm today (Sunday),” Yash Raj, the production company he founded, said in a statement.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh paid a wholesome tribute to the late director, describing him as “an icon of Indian cinema”.

“He entertained many generations with his rare creativity,” Singh said. “He had an aesthetic talent to make his films look larger than life. His flourish to essay romance and social drama was unmatched. He will be remembered by millions.”

Bollywood director Madhur Bhandarkar said on Twitter he was shocked by the loss of a movie legend. “Romance in cinema will always be incomplete,” he added.

Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt called Chopra’s death a huge loss to Bollywood.

“My brother Mukesh Bhatt called me at 6.30pm and was crying. He gave me the news that Yash Ji is no more. It is a sad demise and a huge loss,” Mahesh told IANS.

Chopra was born in Lahore and was the youngest of the eight children of an accountant.

(WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM AGENCIES)

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