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Bollywood veteran Yash Chopra dies

Directed several Indian cinema classics

LONDON — Indian multihyphenate Yash Chopra, who directed and produced a series of blockbusters starting with 1973’s “Daag,” “Deewar” and “Kabhi kabhie” Sunday died in Mumbai, India, following a bout of dengue. He was 80.

Chopra had recently announced his retirement from directing. His last film “Jab tak hai jaan,” starring Shah Rukh Khan, is due to release on Nov. 13.

Chopra was born in Lahore, British India, in 1932. He debuted in 1959 with “Dhool ka phool.” Chopra and his older brother B.R. worked together until a falling out in the 1970s when he launched his production company Yash Raj Films in 1973 with “Daag.”

The company today is one of India’s biggest studios. In 2011, YRF started a Hollywood shingle called YRF Entertainment; projects include Jason Bateman starrer “The Longest Week,” directed by Peter Glanz, and Olivier Dahan’s “Grace of Monaco,” starring Nicole Kidman.

Chopra leaves behind a 22-film body of directorial work that includes some that are considered classics of Indian cinema such “Ittefaq,” “Waqt,” “Deewar” and “Kabhi kabhie,” in addition to several films produced by his company.

Known for working with the same cast and crew, Chopra aided the careers of Amitabh Bachchan (“Deewar”) and Khan, with whom he made several films.

Chopra’s films were known for their big musical numbers, foreign location shots and melodrama. He shot so often in Switzerland that the Swiss government bestowed a special honor on him in 2010. He also was made an honorary member of BAFTA.

“I always believe that my films should give some hope to the man who comes to watch them for those three hours,” he once said. “If he goes home on an optimistic note, I would feel satisfied at having done my duty.”

In 2004, he made Bollywood history by using previously unused music left behind by long dead composer Madan Mohan, who had been is frequent collaborator, in “Veer-Zaara.”

His wife, the singer and producer Pamela; and his sons Aditya, a producer-director; and Uday, a producer-actor, survive him.

(Shalini Dore in Hollywood contributed to this report.)

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