I had stopped celebrating my birthday after my mother died.Till my younger brother, Roy continued the tradition set by my mother and started celebrating my birthday in a bigger and more stylish way with the biggest names in the film industry attending the parties celebrated at my humble home.My brother died young and I lost all interest in celebrating my birthdays. I used to receive hundreds of bouquets on my birthday, but I called all the florists and ask them to stop sending bouquets to my house. It was an emotional decision I had taken, but there was another reason, I suddenly felt that the countless flowers were sacrificing their lives to make me feel happy....
It was another birthday and I had taken a decision to celebrate all my birthdays with work. I was making plans to spend my birthday by going to office and following my regular schedule, but at 9:30.before I could set out for office, I received a call from a very dear friend and a man who shared his passion for love and romance with me ,the great Yash Chopra who I once only thought about or read about or saw his films. He said ,"Kya romantic journalist,kya kar rahe ho aapke birthday per ?"I said I was going to office and in his typical way he said,"saale behn ke takke, janam din per bhi koi kam karta hai ? Aa ja ghar per naashta karte hai romance vomance ki baatein karte hai aur phir office jaakar love ke baare mein research karte hai.Main wait karta hoon kyunki tum se accha pyaar aur romance ki baatein main kisse kar sakta hoon ? Tum pyaar ke modern poojari ho aur main purane zamaane ka prem poojari hoon. Aa jaana behn ke takke dus baje tak.Dagaa mat dena,aaj romance ka mood bohot bhaari hai ". How could I, a lover say no to a greater lover ?
We had a very heavy breakfast of aaloo partha,kheema and the best lassi I had ever tasted.We than left for his office at Vikas Park. He asked his receptionist Sally and his office assistant Bala to see that he was not disturbed by anyone for the next two hours.
Our "research"on love started by his telling me how he had become a "poojari"of love after he had read the love poems of Sahir Ludhianvi when he was in college. He had become a die hard fan of Sahir and had decided that if he ever made films, he would have Sahir as the lyricist of all his films. Destiny had its own plan for Yash. His father wanted him to go to London to study for a course in the ICS ,but he had already made up his mind to follow his elder brother, B.R.Chopra and make films.He was sent to Bombay by his father to spend some time with his brother before going to London. Yash saw Sahir sitting with his brother one evening and that was the moment when he decided that he would not go to London and would not be an ICS officer, but would ask his brother to take him on as one of his assistants. He had to struggle to convince his brother who wanted him to do his ICS as he did not want to defy their father. But Yash manged to convince his brother and finally got his chance to assit his brother during the making of "Naya Daur ".It was during the non-stop shooting of the film but Yash made friends with Sahir and Dilip Kumar, the kind of friendship that was to last very long.
Yash finally managed to make some good films and made his best film," Waqt " which was the first big multi-starer. While we were having a very delicious lunch which came from his house in his office, he told me how he had fallen in love with Sadhana, one of the heroines of "Waqt"and how he used to talk to her on the telephone for twelve hours at a stretch, sometimes all through the night .And while he was having a tangdi kabaab he told me about his long affair with Mumtaz,the heroine of his film "Aadmi Aur Insaan ".
There love story had reached a point when Yash wanted to marry Mumtaz, but his brother did not want that to happen and fixed up his marriage with a girl from Delhi. Yash went to see the girl with his brother and did not show any interest after he saw the girl who was an air hostess working with BOAC .His brother was very upset and they came back to Bombay. Yash continued to have his love stories ,some short and some long ,till his brother took him to Delhi again telling him that they were going to see another girl for him.Yash was surprised to see the same girl he had seen once before and took a split second decision and decided to marry the girl. That girl went to be Mrs.Pamela Chopra who was married to him till the end and was the mother of Aaditya and Uday....Yash believed that love could happen to anyone at anytime and love knew no rules or laws and had its own ways of happening, continuing and even ending and man couldn't do anything about it, because love was a feeling that was only a feeling like feeling god.
We were talking about love even after lunch and he said ,"ye romance aur pyaar agar nahi hote toh zindagi kya khaak hoti ? Pyaar hai toh tere aur mere jaise log zinda bhi hai aur humne hamari zindagi banaayi hai.Hum jaise premiyo ko pyaar ke mandir banakar poojna chahiye. "
He kept talking about love and said that the world would have been a much better place if man had believed in the power of love more than the blessings of god. He also said something that surprised me then and continues to surprised me to this day .He said he couldn't make a film about love without falling in love with his heroine in the film he was making. I asked him how he could fall in love again and again and he said, "log agar duaa baar baar mang sakte hai, toh main pyaar bar kyun nahi kar sakta ? Mere liye toh pyaar se badhkar koi duaa ya mannat nahi hai "
He then told me how he had fallen in love with his heroines like Raakhee, Rekha, Juhi Chawla,Sridevi and Madhuri Dixit .He said he would not have got the kind of performances he got from them if he was not in love with them.
He took a break and talked about his love for Dilip Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar and said how he couldn't think of living without them
He finally asked me about my love and when I told him about my fifty five year old long love story with one girl who grew into a woman and left me to become a christian nun ,I could see his eyes brimming with tears. I was overwhelmed when he said, "tu toh mera baap nikla, tereko toh logo ko prem poojari kehna chahiye, main tere pyaar ko salaam karta hoon. Aise tere aur mere jaise pyaar karne wale kya phir paidaa hoge ? Mujhe malum nahi, lekin mujhe ye malum hai ki agar humne jis tarah pyaar kya waise agar aur logo ne nahi kya toh ek din pyaar mar jaayega aur agar pyaar mar gaya, toh ye saari zindagi, ye saari shaurat, ye sari dhan daulat kis kaam ki ?"
That evening I realised that my day with Yash Chopra and love was far more enriching and allovating than anything I would do to celebrate my birthday that day. It was one of those evening have stayed in my heart and will stay on as long as love lasts.
Like Yash said he could not think of life without Dilip Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar, I still find it difficult to think of a life without a great lover and filmmaker like Yash Chopra.