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Aditya Chopra As I Know Him



I  don’t really  know Aditya Chopra,  the  scion of Yashraj Films personally. I only know him  from what his father and  some of his close friends have told me about him. And yes, I’ve had the rare  distinction of actually meeting  Mr Chopra once.It happened  by accident. I had gone to the Yashraj office  to meet a dear friend who worked there. Suddenly the door  to my friend’s cabin opened and Aditya poked his  head in, saw me sitting there, nodded his head  in a quick hello and bolted. This makes me the second journalist on this planet to  be acknowledged by India’s most reclusive filmmaker. The distinction of being the only  journalist to  have   interviewed  Aditya Chopra  goes to  my friend Khalid Mohamed.  I don’t know how  Khalid  convinced him to speak.But speak, he did  , and  extensively after  the  release of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge.That apart,  I only know Aditya  Chopra from what I’ve heard   from his wife Rani Mukerjee .Apparently he is a caring husband and  a fun father for daughter Adira. Ok then.He is also a  first-day-first-show  movie buff. Adi doesn’t believe in watching  new films at private  screenings. He  goes  to  the nearest movie theatre to see  new releases to see first-hand  how the audience  reacts to the drama and  the comedy.Anupam Kher once told me, “Adi has  a terrific  feel for  the  boxoffice. He knows what works and what doesn’t work. Though he is a recluse  by choice he keeps tabs  on boxoffice  figures of all  the  films that are released. He is  an encyclopaedia  of trade  figures.”I once  brought up  the  subject  of  his elder son with  Yash Chopra. His face  lit up. “Adi?  Adi  lives and  breathes  movies. Sotey-jaagte woh sirf  cinema sochta hai. He  has no other life.”This was before Rani Mukerjee. Now  I hear Adiji  likes to  spend  all his spare time(of which he has plenty  these  days) with his  wife and  daughter.After the  unparalleled  success  of Aditya  Chopra’s Dilwale  Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, his proud  father  couldn’t stop  preening.Yashji confided in me, “I had never seen so much money before!  Log pagal nahin hain jo roz DDLJ dekhne jaate hain. Adi ne dil se banayee yeh picture. When it completed 200 weeks I thought we had had our innings. But DDLJ kept growing. Now after 500 weeks the general-manager of Maratha Mandir tells me it can easily go on for six more months. It still goes houseful during weekends! Aditya was only 23 when he made DDLJ. I still remember the first time when he narrated the story to me. I had tears in my eyes for two reasons. Firstly, it was because my son had written it. And secondly because it was such a heartwarming story. I knew it was going to be a hit film. But to this extent?! Never. It touched a chord in Indians all over the world. It prompted them to go back to their country, traditions and roots. DDLJ was the first romance where the boy takes the girl away only with the parents’ consent. The whole process of winning over the girl’s family was unique.  Proud father  Yash Chopra  was happy to hand  over the mantel to Adi.  He told me , “Adi handles the creative side of our productions. I handle the financial aspect. When Aditya or I make a  film then we discuss everything in detail. But a film like Dhoom is orchestrated entirely by him. Being a romantic film Hum Tum wasn’t so costly. But Dhoom being an action film was very expensive.”Today Aditya Chopra is in an enviable position.He  sits on  a film empire known to  give the  entertainment industry startling new talent and super-successful films. I don’t know what Adi will direct  next. Lekin ek bio-pic on Yashji toh banta hai, boss.Preferably starring SRK as  Yash Chopra and Ranbir  Kapoor as  Adi Chopra.Alia can play Rani. 
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