Kashmir Has Lost a Friend, Yash Chopra.

Saima Bhat

Kashmir has been like a second home for veteran filmmaker Yash Chopra, who breathed last on Sunday evening. He was planning for a vacation in Kashmir, in next spring for the Tulip bloom. People who have known him believe that he will continue to live in the lakes, mountains and meadows of the valley. Yash chopra, 80, was diagnosed of Dengue and died of multiple organ failure in Mumbai.

Nazir Bakshi, the chairman of Shiraz Travels, has known Yash Chopra for more than 40 years.  While calling Chopra as the ‘King of Romance’ he says, “He was a wonderful man. He was synonymous with Kashmir”.

Yash Chopra and Nazir Bakshi

Bakshi recalls the day in 2005 when CM had called him to fix an appointment with Yash Chopra. He says, “When I talked to Yash about the meeting, without giving a thought he said my studio is open for you people, do whatever you want to. In fact I am ready to become the tourist officer for Kashmir”. “He loved Kashmir, every inch of its lakes, mountains and meadows. I am sure his deep attachment with Kashmir will live forever. The person might be gone, but his persona will live forever” adds Bakshi.

Last time when Yash Chopra was shooting his ‘Jab tak hai jaan’ in Kashmir, the first thing he has told his friend Nazir on Airport was, “after taking a deep breath…today I am feeling I am back home”.

Bakshi also says that Yash used to reach on sets early in the morning at 6.30am that was only because he had the passion to shoot the beauty of Kashmir. Bashi says Yash had many assistant directors but he always preferred to shoot himself as per his passion, his imagination in Kashmir.

Bakshi have known Yash since 1964 and even in times when Bollywood did not come to Kashmir for outdoor shooting. He would go and see him on the sets of his movies as assistant director of his eldest brother BR Chopra in Mumbai.

Bakshi, who is a travel agent also, has always made all the arrangements for the filmmaker’s unit.  “When Yash was shooting his famous love triangle Kabhi Kabhie, he spend almost a year in Kashmir to capture all the four main seasons in his movie. For any other director it is not possible to wait for a year to shoot seasons but Yash always had the creation and he knew what he needs in his frames”.

While recalling Yash Chopra as an essentially down-to-earth person, Bakshi says he was very humane. He says when the crew was shooting in Pahalgam, “an old man, who was a cancer patient, asked for some money. When that old man left we had a long conversation on the cancer patients of Kashmir in which I talked about an NGO, Cancer Society of Kashmir, who are working for such needy patients. Next I remember his employee came and gave me a cheque of hefty amount for donation to the NGO”.

Bakshi says if India has lost an icon, we Kashmiris have lost a great friend.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also condoled the death of filmmaker and said in his demise the state had lost its best envoy of its scenic beauty.


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