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Bollywood movie mogul Yash Chopra dies at 80

By Rajesh Shah

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, Oct. 21 2012 11:40 p.m. MDT

FILE - In this June 12, 2007 file photo, Yash Chopra, chairman of Yash Raj Films, attends a press conference in Mumbai, India. Bollywood movie mogul Chopra died Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012 in Mumbai more than a week after he contracted dengue fever, a doctor said. He was 80.

Gautam Singh, File, Associated Press

MUMBAI, India — Bollywood movie mogul Yash Chopra, whose classic love tales made him the Indian film industry's "King of Romance," has died after contracting dengue fever. He was 80.

Chopra's earliest major hits included the 1975 action film "Deewar" ("Wall") and the romance "Kabhi Kabhie — Love is Life" in 1976, both of which helped establish Amitabh Bachchan as Bollywood's biggest star. The popular 1989 film "Chandni" ("Moonlight") had Chopra's signature touches: romance, music and a European setting.

Bollywood celebrities, directors and hundreds of fans gathered at Chopra's house in south Mumbai to pay their condolences before the funeral to be held later Monday.

Bachchan posted a remembrance to his "friend first, a creative legend later" on his blog early Monday and recalled his 44-year association with Chopra.

"...all that shall remain will be that which he gave life to — his creativity, his emotion, his poetry on film and above all his humanity," the entry said.

He also directed "Dil To Pagal Hai" (The Heart Is Mad), "Lamhe" ("Moments") and "Veer-Zaara," which won the popular award at the International Indian Film Academy and the Golden Lotus award at India's National Film Awards. His final film, "Jab Tak Hai Jaan" ("As Long As I Am Alive"), is scheduled for release across India next month.

Chopra died Sunday in Mumbai's Lilavati Hospital. In addition to dengue, he suffered kidney ailments, according to Dr. Prakash Jiyavani.

"He passed away due to dengue and multiple organ failure," the Press Trust of India quoted a hospital spokesman, Sudhir, as saying. The spokesman uses only one name.

Chopra started his film career in the 1950s under the tutelage of his elder brother, late filmmaker B.R. Chopra. He founded his own studio Yash Raj Films and launched it with "Daag: A Poem of Love" in 1973, which won him one of his four Filmfare Awards for best director.

Chopra's films of the 1980s were shot in what were exotic locales for millions of Indians who had few opportunities to travel abroad. Chopra had the main protagonists of his films traipsing through tulip fields in the Netherlands or singing and dancing near Switzerland's idyllic lakes.

A popular legend among film-goers in India was that Chopra had shot so often in Switzerland that one of the lakes had been renamed Chopra lake.

He is survived by his wife and two sons. Elder son Aditya Chopra is a successful film director, and Uday Chopra runs the international branch of the family's production house.

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