My dear Yashji,
I think I have the right to address you like this, because of the countless occasions we had met in those days when you were young and forever in love and you were inspiring a young lover like me to understand and be inspired by what love really meant for you and what you wanted the world to know about love, without which you said, you couldn't think about living and I being your ardent disciples when it came to love kept growing as an intense lover like you. You have given me some of the best moments of my life, but the greatest moments you have gifted me with are the moments when you talked to me about love and how you spoke to your beloveds on the phone for twelve long hours and almost made me feel jealous of you and how you envied those women who had the pleasure of listening to you talking about love and loving you all the more. I have seen many lovers during my lifetime.I have been a great lover myself. I have seen men and women going made about love. I have seen the various colours and shades of love. I have heard about God being the great lover. But I can place my right hand on the left side of my heart and swear that I have never seen a greater lover than you. You were so much and so passionately in love that you once even told me that you couldn't make films with your heroine without falling in love with them. Were you a modern day Krishna who had a crowd of lovers surrounding him all the time, a Krishna who gave love to his women and got back double the love that they gave to me.
I remember the love stories which were very close to you. I remember how you told me that you were madly in love with Sadhana, who you had done only one film with and you had told me how much she loved you and how your love for her lasted for years and how you tried your best to keep your love alive for her and how it was this love that made you help her after she had lost her husband, R.K Nayyar and she was directing TV-serials and how you continued to talk to her in the same passionate way that you used to during the making of “Waqt" and how cruel time could not erase the stamp of love that occupied a major part of your heart.
You had told me about your love for Mumtaz, who also done only one film with you, “Aadmi Aur Insaan", and how your love for her even made you decide to marry her, but couldn't because of the objections raised by your elder brother, B.R Chopra who you called Bhaisahab(B.R Chopra) and you had to cut your love story short and listen to your Bhaisahab's advice.
Your Bhaisahab wanted to see a girl in Delhi who was an air hostess working for the then BOAC Airlines and how you had travelled to Delhi to meet the girl whose name was Pamela and how you didn't find her good enough and made your Bhaisahab unhappy and you and your Bhaisahab had to come back to Bombay. He decided to take another try, all in your interest and you followed him to Delhi like any other younger brother would. And when you reached Delhi, to yours utter surprise you found that it was the same girl, Pamela and you felt it was destiny's plan to bind the two of you in marriage and told your Bhaisahab that you were willing to marry Pamela and the two of you got married and settled down in Bombay. It was an arranged marriage, you told me, but after a time you fell in love with her and this great love stories lasted till that time that nasty mosquito stung you and snatched away not only your life, but the ocean of love that was a part of your life.
I know how you in your own way were in love with all your heroines, even with the great Vyjayanthimala when you were just an assistant of your Bhaisahab during the making of “Naya Daur" and your own kind of love for her continued till you first offered her the role of the mother in “Deewaar" which she politely declined and how her declining to play the mother had changed the life and career of Nirupa Roy. I being a lover, knew that you were still in love with the eighty year old Vyjayanthimala, which I could see in your eyes during the screening of the fully coloured version of “Naya Daur" released in Bombay in early two thousand.
I used to visit your office at Vikas Park in Juhu regularly and our favourite subject always used to be love and romance. One afternoon, I found you sitting with your head held in both the palms of your hands and lovingly looking at a cover photograph of the gorgeous Madhuri Dixit. You didn't even notice my entering your cabin, till I made myself present and you woke up from what I knew was a romantic reverie and I asked you what your problem was, even though I knew what your problem was. You had to come out with the truth before another authority on love (me) and you told me that you were ‘dying' to make a film with Madhuri, but you were scared of her secretary, Rakesh Nath (Rikku) who you believed could spoil your dream film which you would make with Madhuri. One lover(me) assured the apostle of love to just call Madhuri and shy would only be too glad to work with you. I don't know whether it was because of my advice or whatever other reasons, but you had soon signed Madhuri Dixit to play the leading lady in your most ambitious romantic film, “Dil Toh Pagal Hai", with the King of Romance, Shah Rukh Khan and Karishma Kapoor as the other stars and with Akshay Kumar in the special appearance. That film was a miracle and at many times I felt that a lover like you were destined to make the film which no other director could make the way you made it and drove every lover ‘paagal'.
Tell me, if I am wrong, weren't you in love with Juhi Chawla in “Darr", Sridevi in “Chandni",who you called ‘a rare computer of a collection of emotions which had to be switched on and buttons touched for different emotions to come alive and they did'? Weren't you in love when you were directing Rekha in “Silsila"? If you weren't, you would never have got a absolutely divine romantic female lover in the film? Weren't you in love with Hema Malini during the one film you did with her, “Trishul"? And, tell me frankly weren't you in love with Raakhee who you could talk into breaking her vow she had made to her husband, Gulzar not to work in films after marrying him? Didn't she break that solemn vow only because she wanted to play the heroine of your film, “Kabhi Kabhie"and I am very sure that you must have also been in love when you made your farewell film,“Jab Tak Hai Jaan" with Anuska Sharma and Katrina Kaif even when you were in your eighties. I believe a true lover can never stop loving till the end of his life or her life, because love is like the heart beat of life, the day love goes out of the life of a lover, the heart refuses to beat and that is the signal for life to stop and love to takeover and live as long as stories about great love are told.
I don't know who gives lovers like us the gift to always be in love, but there has to be some human source of inspiration and for you, Yash Chopra, the ‘Badshah of love', I know it has to be your favourite poet, Sahir Ludhianvi whose poetry not only changed your life and made you defy your own decisions and made you change your half-baked ambition to be an ICS officer to be one of the greatest markers of romantic films in India which will be remembered as long as time lives and both time and love are divine powers that can and will not ever die.
I miss you, Yashji because of many reasons, like my not being allowed entry into your Yash Raj Studios the way I used to enter once upon a time, but the one and only reason I will miss you is because I now have to talk to your bronze statue at Yash Raj Studio and the only other source I have to talk about love are walls, because man has stopped loving the way you and I used to love in those glorious days. Will our kind of love be reborn again?I need an answer to this do or die question and I also know that I can get the true answer from the greatest lover I have known in my life, you, Yashji, only you.
With all the love that still lives in me.
Ali(ve) Peter John, a man who had the great privilege of being called ‘Ali Sahab' by the man whose every gesture had that blessing of love.
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