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Asia

Bollywood's 'King of Romance' is dead

He was called the 'king of romance.' Nobody in India could bring to life love, passion, yearning and broken hearts on the silver screen better than Yash Chopra - a man who lived his dream to the end.

"Even as a child," Chopra said, "I told my older brother, who was also a director, 'I want to be just like you.' He asked why. He said that only life can teach you to be a good filmmaker. And I said: 'Life has taught you so much - let me be your assistant.' And that is what I became and I had to do all the dirty work, like making coffee and tea. But I was happy. Getting to the top was a lot of hard work."

Veer Zara film poster

Chopra's "Veer Zaara," starring Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta, is a Bollywood classic

The work on the sets of his older brother was the beginning of Yash Chopra's meteoric rise to fame. In a career spanning over five decades, he churned out hit after hit, like "Deewar," "Trishul," "Chandni," "Silsila," Veer Zaara" and others.

The award-winning director and producer was a key figure behind the song and dance numbers that eventually made Bollywood movies a brand name around the world. His films were box office hits and made actors, like Shah Rukh Khan, famous far beyond India's borders. "With Yash Chopra, we have lost our leader," said director colleague Mahesh Bhatt.

"We have lost a giant. Especially now, with Bollywood preparing to celebrate its 100th anniversary, we feel a terrible loss. He was the chief of our tribe, if I may say so. He had always tried to keep us together. He battled with politics because the governments of the last 50 years did not understand the enormous social importance of Bollywood. He criticized the apathy of the younger ones in our field because they didn't get involved personally and just did their own thing," said Bhatt.

"I admire Yash Chopra for his life's work. He fought to the very end."

Yash Chopra, right, receives Asian Filmmaker of the Year award from the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) director Kim Dong-ho during the BIFF in Busan, South Korea, October 9, 2009. Photo: AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon

Chopra received the honor of Asian Filmmaker of the Year in 2009

Chopra, born in Lahore, was admitted to a hospital on October 13. "He had been suffering from complications of dengue fever for a long time. He suffered from multiple organ failure from which he died," a hospital source said.

He passed away October 21st, just three weeks after his 80th birthday.

Yash Chopra's last film, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, is slated to open in Indian cinemas on November 13. It is another romance and once again, his great discovery, Shah Rukh Khan, plays the leading man.

According to reports, Chopra had to cancel a trip to the Swiss Alps for the filming of the last remaining song sequence in the film, but in India no one has the slightest doubt that the last movie of India's grand master of romance will be a blockbuster nonetheless.

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