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Books > Performing Arts > Cinema > Prem Naam Hai Mera: Prem Chopra
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Prem Naam Hai Mera: Prem Chopra
Prem Naam Hai Mera: Prem Chopra
Description

About the Book

 

Think Bollywood villain and one of the first names that comes to mind is that of Prem Chopra. One of the few actors to have been working in the industry for more than five decades, from the black-and-white era to the new millennium, and still going strong, he is a legend in his own right.

 

This fascinating memoir, penned by his daughter Rakita Nanda and told in Prem Chopra's words, reveals the story behind the man people loved to hate. Read about his memorable journey from his time as a young boy who used to wait outside the Clarks Hotel in Shimla to catch a glimpse of the film stars who stayed there, to being mobbed by fans at the same hotel many years later. Get to know about the man who was once reviled by the public for his lecherous on-screen avatar, but who was known within the film industry for his couplets, which the star Dharmendra christened 'Prem Awargi'. Above all, meet Prem Chopra the family man: a devoted husband and doting father to three daughters.

 

Replete with humorous anecdotes and previously untold stories, and including interviews about Chopra with stars such as Manoj Kumar, Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan, Sharman Joshi, Ranbir and Rishi Kapoor, Prem Naam Hai Mera, Prem Chopra is an intimate look at the life of one of the most enduring stars of the Indian film industry.

 

About the Author

 

Rakita Nanda is a graduate in mass communication and worked as a website designer for almost ten years. She was also the marketing; Manager of Baba Digital, a printing unit handling clients such as Reliance, Coca Cola, 'The Times of India and ICICI. "This is her first book.

 

Prologue

 

Why did I write the story in first person?

The idea of a book about my dad came from my husband when he said, 'Your dad has survived in the industry for five decades, where the average span is about a decade; not easy ... '

 

I pondered over it and spoke to Dad, desiring to work on his biography. He was game. A series of interviews followed as we went through his life, year by year, film by film. Next were the press clippings, and the credit for this goes to my mother, who has methodically stored them over the years. Every press clip since 1969-the year they were married-till date is painstakingly catalogued. I did not have to look elsewhere for my research.

 

Meanwhile, I began watching his movies all over again-this time critically-and the thought crossed my mind that he was a good actor. That was strange, my realization. My journey of rediscovering Dad had begun.

 

This book is an amalgamation of my personal interviews with him, plus all the press clippings and interviews with journalists for various publications such as The Times of India, The Indian Express, Screen, Filmfare, Illustrated Weekly of India, Movie, Stardust, Star & Style, Cine Advance, Blitz, Cine Blitz, Mid-day, Movie Jagat, etc.

 

As I wrote the first few drafts, I realized that the best way to put his story across would be as if he was narrating it in his own words.

Introduction

1973

A film is being shot in Pune. I reach the sets and ask for the dialogues. Raj Kapoor, the director, says, 'The heroine is a new girl. The moment she enters, you will hold her hand tightly and say, Prem naam hai mera ... Prem Chopra!' I look at him blankly. He is firm, 'This is the dialogue.' I am surprised at the lines Raj-ji has given me; I am not happy.

 

Raj Kapoor had told me that he had a guest appearance for me in this film, Bobby (1973). I replied that as I was currently doing parallel roles, this could set a wrong precedent. He reiterated that this was the role he had in mind for me at the time, but promised to compensate with a full-fledged role later. But it seemed that even in the guest appearance, I had just this one dialogue in the film. It did not feel right.

 

I shared all this with Premnath, who was on the sets that day. He replied prophetically, Just believe me, this film will be a big hit. You will get publicity worth millions; your dialogue will be a super hit.'

 

Soon after the release of Bobby, I was in Dalhousie for the shooting of Kala Sona (1975). I was returning by train to Delhi (there are no flights to Dalhousie) when the train ticket (TT) inspector and the rest of the staff recognized me. The TT must have informed the railway authorities ahead that I was on the train because when we reached the station there was a huge gathering clamouring for me. They were reciting 'the line'. The TT requested me to come out and wave to the public. When I stepped out, the only thing they wanted of me was to say that one line. I played to the gallery, 'Prem naam hai mera, Prem Chopra!' And the public loved it! They still do.

 

The train stopped at every station till we reached Delhi, and I repeated the performance at each stop. The next day the headline in a Delhi newspaper read that the train from Dalhousie to Delhi had been delayed by an hour because of Prem Chopra. I had never expected such a reaction.

 

I soon realized that I had to deliver 'the line' at every show in India or abroad thenceforth. The dialogue that I had been unhappy with had made me a brand for life. Overnight it became my trademark, synonymous with me.

 

In the film Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani (2009), Ranbir Kapoor's character is called Prem and he too uses my trademark line. The dialogue was even part of the trailers! I was both amused and happy. When I went to see the movie at a theatre, the entire audience turned to see my reaction when this scene was played. I was humbled.

 

Released in the same year, Ajay Devgn's character in All the Best:

Fun Begins was called Prem Chopra; he too said 'the line'. I saw the film and mess aged Ajay Devgan, 'You have used my name well.'

 

In Golmaal 3 (2010), I played Ratna Pathak Shah's father who does not approve of his daughter's relationship with Mithun Chakraborty. I appeared in a flashback and, in true dramatic style, emoted my signature line.

 

Sudden interest was also visible in theatre in 2010, with a Marathi play, Prem Naam Hai Mera, Prem Chopra, and two years later in a Gujarati play, Pappa Maara Prem Chopra.

 

Recently, I saw Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai Dobaara (2013), and I was pleasantly surprised to see a character playing a fan of mine, who copies my costumes. Such sequences have served to keep my screen presence fresh and introduce me to the new generation.

 

Even today, army friends drinking in their mess quote theatrically, 'Don't try to be funny, mera naam hai Prem, Prem Chopra.'

 

Out of the hundred years that Indian cinema has celebrated, I have been around for almost sixty.

But where did it all start?

 

Contents

 

 

Prologue

Xiii

 

Introduction

1

1.

The Early Years

4

2.

Bombay and my First Dishoom

11

3.

The 1960s: Second Trip to Bombay

13

4.

Chaudhary Karnail Singh and Punjabi Films

16

5.

Woh Kaun Thi

20

6.

The Early Films

23

7.

The Usha Sadan Days

26

8.

Shashi and Shammi

29

9.

Upkar

32

 

Manoj Kumar: In Conversation

34

10.

Waiting for the Cue

36

11.

Marriage

38

12.

Films with South Indian Producers

41

13.

The Rajesh Khanna Era

43

14.

Purab Aur Pachhim

48

15.

The Anand Brothers

50

16.

Dilip Kumar

56

17.

The Dharmendra Movies

61

18.

Get-ups and My Story with Horses

67

19.

My Sister's Wedding

72

20.

Is this Real or Is that Real

74


21.

Typecasting the Villain

78

22.

Friendships

83

23.

The Transition to the Angry Young Man Era

92

Amitabh Bachchan: In Conversation

105

24.

Kranti

107

25.

Other Significant Films in the 1980s

109

26.

The Second Innings of Rajesh Khanna

113

27.

The 1980s: Films with South Indian

Directors and Producers

115

28.

The New Lot of the 1980s

118

29.

On the Villain

124

From the Archives ...

130

30.

The Subject of Rape

133

31.

Losing my Father

141

32.

The 1990s

142

33.

The Three Weddings

149

34.

'The Saturday Mela' in the New Millennium

152

35.

Films in the Millennium

156

36.

Punjabi Films

161

37.

International Cinema

162

38.

Working with Generations

164

Rishi Kapoor: In Conversation

168

39.

Changes that I've Seen with Regard to Villainy

171

40.

Marriage and Home

179

4l.

Impact on Children

186

42.

The New Entrants

193

43.

Survival Mantra

200

44.

Retirement ... What Retirement?

203

45.

My Views

205

46.

Best Acts as Villain

210

47.

The Unforgettable Lines

218

 

Salim Khan: In Conversation

220

 

Epilogue

223

 

Appendix 1

225

 

Appendix 2

227

 

Acknowledgements

229

 

References

231

 

Copyright Acknowledgements

233

 

Prem Naam Hai Mera: Prem Chopra

Item Code:
NAG463
Cover:
Hardcover
Edition:
2014
ISBN:
9788129131188
Language:
English
Size:
8.5 inch X 5.5 inch
Pages:
248 (24 B/W and 20 Color Illustrations)
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 385 gms
Price:
$25.00   Shipping Free
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About the Book

 

Think Bollywood villain and one of the first names that comes to mind is that of Prem Chopra. One of the few actors to have been working in the industry for more than five decades, from the black-and-white era to the new millennium, and still going strong, he is a legend in his own right.

 

This fascinating memoir, penned by his daughter Rakita Nanda and told in Prem Chopra's words, reveals the story behind the man people loved to hate. Read about his memorable journey from his time as a young boy who used to wait outside the Clarks Hotel in Shimla to catch a glimpse of the film stars who stayed there, to being mobbed by fans at the same hotel many years later. Get to know about the man who was once reviled by the public for his lecherous on-screen avatar, but who was known within the film industry for his couplets, which the star Dharmendra christened 'Prem Awargi'. Above all, meet Prem Chopra the family man: a devoted husband and doting father to three daughters.

 

Replete with humorous anecdotes and previously untold stories, and including interviews about Chopra with stars such as Manoj Kumar, Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan, Sharman Joshi, Ranbir and Rishi Kapoor, Prem Naam Hai Mera, Prem Chopra is an intimate look at the life of one of the most enduring stars of the Indian film industry.

 

About the Author

 

Rakita Nanda is a graduate in mass communication and worked as a website designer for almost ten years. She was also the marketing; Manager of Baba Digital, a printing unit handling clients such as Reliance, Coca Cola, 'The Times of India and ICICI. "This is her first book.

 

Prologue

 

Why did I write the story in first person?

The idea of a book about my dad came from my husband when he said, 'Your dad has survived in the industry for five decades, where the average span is about a decade; not easy ... '

 

I pondered over it and spoke to Dad, desiring to work on his biography. He was game. A series of interviews followed as we went through his life, year by year, film by film. Next were the press clippings, and the credit for this goes to my mother, who has methodically stored them over the years. Every press clip since 1969-the year they were married-till date is painstakingly catalogued. I did not have to look elsewhere for my research.

 

Meanwhile, I began watching his movies all over again-this time critically-and the thought crossed my mind that he was a good actor. That was strange, my realization. My journey of rediscovering Dad had begun.

 

This book is an amalgamation of my personal interviews with him, plus all the press clippings and interviews with journalists for various publications such as The Times of India, The Indian Express, Screen, Filmfare, Illustrated Weekly of India, Movie, Stardust, Star & Style, Cine Advance, Blitz, Cine Blitz, Mid-day, Movie Jagat, etc.

 

As I wrote the first few drafts, I realized that the best way to put his story across would be as if he was narrating it in his own words.

Introduction

1973

A film is being shot in Pune. I reach the sets and ask for the dialogues. Raj Kapoor, the director, says, 'The heroine is a new girl. The moment she enters, you will hold her hand tightly and say, Prem naam hai mera ... Prem Chopra!' I look at him blankly. He is firm, 'This is the dialogue.' I am surprised at the lines Raj-ji has given me; I am not happy.

 

Raj Kapoor had told me that he had a guest appearance for me in this film, Bobby (1973). I replied that as I was currently doing parallel roles, this could set a wrong precedent. He reiterated that this was the role he had in mind for me at the time, but promised to compensate with a full-fledged role later. But it seemed that even in the guest appearance, I had just this one dialogue in the film. It did not feel right.

 

I shared all this with Premnath, who was on the sets that day. He replied prophetically, Just believe me, this film will be a big hit. You will get publicity worth millions; your dialogue will be a super hit.'

 

Soon after the release of Bobby, I was in Dalhousie for the shooting of Kala Sona (1975). I was returning by train to Delhi (there are no flights to Dalhousie) when the train ticket (TT) inspector and the rest of the staff recognized me. The TT must have informed the railway authorities ahead that I was on the train because when we reached the station there was a huge gathering clamouring for me. They were reciting 'the line'. The TT requested me to come out and wave to the public. When I stepped out, the only thing they wanted of me was to say that one line. I played to the gallery, 'Prem naam hai mera, Prem Chopra!' And the public loved it! They still do.

 

The train stopped at every station till we reached Delhi, and I repeated the performance at each stop. The next day the headline in a Delhi newspaper read that the train from Dalhousie to Delhi had been delayed by an hour because of Prem Chopra. I had never expected such a reaction.

 

I soon realized that I had to deliver 'the line' at every show in India or abroad thenceforth. The dialogue that I had been unhappy with had made me a brand for life. Overnight it became my trademark, synonymous with me.

 

In the film Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani (2009), Ranbir Kapoor's character is called Prem and he too uses my trademark line. The dialogue was even part of the trailers! I was both amused and happy. When I went to see the movie at a theatre, the entire audience turned to see my reaction when this scene was played. I was humbled.

 

Released in the same year, Ajay Devgn's character in All the Best:

Fun Begins was called Prem Chopra; he too said 'the line'. I saw the film and mess aged Ajay Devgan, 'You have used my name well.'

 

In Golmaal 3 (2010), I played Ratna Pathak Shah's father who does not approve of his daughter's relationship with Mithun Chakraborty. I appeared in a flashback and, in true dramatic style, emoted my signature line.

 

Sudden interest was also visible in theatre in 2010, with a Marathi play, Prem Naam Hai Mera, Prem Chopra, and two years later in a Gujarati play, Pappa Maara Prem Chopra.

 

Recently, I saw Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai Dobaara (2013), and I was pleasantly surprised to see a character playing a fan of mine, who copies my costumes. Such sequences have served to keep my screen presence fresh and introduce me to the new generation.

 

Even today, army friends drinking in their mess quote theatrically, 'Don't try to be funny, mera naam hai Prem, Prem Chopra.'

 

Out of the hundred years that Indian cinema has celebrated, I have been around for almost sixty.

But where did it all start?

 

Contents

 

 

Prologue

Xiii

 

Introduction

1

1.

The Early Years

4

2.

Bombay and my First Dishoom

11

3.

The 1960s: Second Trip to Bombay

13

4.

Chaudhary Karnail Singh and Punjabi Films

16

5.

Woh Kaun Thi

20

6.

The Early Films

23

7.

The Usha Sadan Days

26

8.

Shashi and Shammi

29

9.

Upkar

32

 

Manoj Kumar: In Conversation

34

10.

Waiting for the Cue

36

11.

Marriage

38

12.

Films with South Indian Producers

41

13.

The Rajesh Khanna Era

43

14.

Purab Aur Pachhim

48

15.

The Anand Brothers

50

16.

Dilip Kumar

56

17.

The Dharmendra Movies

61

18.

Get-ups and My Story with Horses

67

19.

My Sister's Wedding

72

20.

Is this Real or Is that Real

74


21.

Typecasting the Villain

78

22.

Friendships

83

23.

The Transition to the Angry Young Man Era

92

Amitabh Bachchan: In Conversation

105

24.

Kranti

107

25.

Other Significant Films in the 1980s

109

26.

The Second Innings of Rajesh Khanna

113

27.

The 1980s: Films with South Indian

Directors and Producers

115

28.

The New Lot of the 1980s

118

29.

On the Villain

124

From the Archives ...

130

30.

The Subject of Rape

133

31.

Losing my Father

141

32.

The 1990s

142

33.

The Three Weddings

149

34.

'The Saturday Mela' in the New Millennium

152

35.

Films in the Millennium

156

36.

Punjabi Films

161

37.

International Cinema

162

38.

Working with Generations

164

Rishi Kapoor: In Conversation

168

39.

Changes that I've Seen with Regard to Villainy

171

40.

Marriage and Home

179

4l.

Impact on Children

186

42.

The New Entrants

193

43.

Survival Mantra

200

44.

Retirement ... What Retirement?

203

45.

My Views

205

46.

Best Acts as Villain

210

47.

The Unforgettable Lines

218

 

Salim Khan: In Conversation

220

 

Epilogue

223

 

Appendix 1

225

 

Appendix 2

227

 

Acknowledgements

229

 

References

231

 

Copyright Acknowledgements

233

 

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