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The film industry is in gloom after Yash Chopra’s wife Pamela Chopra passed away

A Tribute by Jyothi Venkatesh to Pamela Chopra who was a co-member in the Censor Board along with him 30 years ago



Yash Chopra with wife Pamela Chopra

By Jyothi Venkatesh

Yash Chopra’s wife and singer Pamela Chopra passed away yesterday on Thursday, April 20, leaving fans heartbroken. It was when the late playback singer Mahendra Kapoor’s actor –singer son Roohan Kapoor called me to ask details about Pam Chopra’s funeral that I came to know about her demise yesterday.

By the way, I knew Pam very well especially when she was appointed a member of the Advisory Committee of the Central Board of Film Certification along with me and the late Gulshan Kumar of T Series exactly 30 years ago. Pam was very friendly with all her co-members whenever we used to watch a film and censor it. Pam was also generous enough to invite us for a treat as and when we used to watch a really good movie as a Censor member. Pamela, called Pam affectionately by all her friends, was born in July 1949 and tied the knot with film producer Yash Chopra in 1970. Their families met through a common friend.

Pamela Chopra is survived by two sons – filmmaker Aditya Chopra and actor Uday Chopra. Her son Aditya Chopra is married to Rani Mukerji. She also worked as a singer, writer, dress designer, and co-producer of many Yash Raj Films. Mrs Chopra sung several songs for hit films including ‘Kabhie Kabhie’, ‘Noorie’, ‘Kaala Patthar’, ‘Silsila’, ‘Chandni’, ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’ and ‘Mujhse Dosti Karoge’.

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Consequently, Salman Khan called off the premiere of his latest film Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan because of her demise. Salman is quite close to the Chopra family. Salman has previously collaborated with Yash Raj Films for the Tiger film series. Its third instalment is set to open in theatres later this year. His upcoming movie, Tiger 3, is being produced by Aditya Chopra under the Yash Raj Films banner. Pamela was also a noted playback singer in her own right.

Pamelaji was admitted to Lilavati Hospital for 15 days. It seems she developed pneumonia. Celebrities mourned her demise on social media. Many visited the Chopra residence in Juhu to pay condolence to the grieving family after the final rites. Aditya Chopra, Uday Chopra, Hrithik Roshan and Karan Johar were there for the cremation of Pamela Chopra. Now, netizens have spotted Uday Chopra smiling as he greeted Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao who came in the evening to pay them a visit. After celebs such as Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai etc, Sonu Nigam and others were spotted arriving for Pamela Chopra’s last journey, including Shah Rukh Khan who arrived with son Aryan Khan.

Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh, Shraddha Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Vicky Kaushal, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Nitin Mukesh, Salim Merchant, Shilpa Shetty, Kajol and Vaibhavi Merchant were some of the other stars seen at the bungalow. Karan Johar was there for the entire time. His mother Hiroo Johar is the sister of Yash Chopra and hence Pamela Chopra is Karan Johar’s mami (maternal aunt). The filmmaker was present all through with his cousins.

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Although it was not quite unexpected, the death of Pamela Chopra, the wife of the legendary Yash Chopra, has left her sons Aditya and Uday Chopra, devastated. Says a close friend of the Chopras, who has been with them constantly after the tragedy, “The death was not entirely unexpected. Pam Aunty was hospitalized and put in a ventilator for the last few weeks. Her health was deteriorating. Adi knew it was coming. But then, who can accept the departure of a parent?”

Of the two Chopra sons, Adi was the one who was more dependent on his mother. “Especially after Yashji’s death, Adi used to make it a point to consult his mother before taking all important decisions. He is shattered. I don’t think the enormity of the tragedy has sunk in completely,” the friend adds.

Ironically, tragedy has struck the Chopra family at the time when their production house YRF has made a grand comeback to the blockbuster domain with Pathaan.“Pam Aunty was in a celebratory mood. She was worried about the debacles that the banner had faced in recent times. Pathaan had brought a smile back on her face,” says the family friend, signing off with a sigh.

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Pam, by the way, has also been credited for writing the movie ‘Kabhie Kabhie’. Mrs Chopra also co-wrote the script of the 1997 film ‘Dil To Pagal Hai’ along with her husband Yash Chopra. Pam was last seen in the Netflix documentary ‘The Romantics’. “Music is my passion. Yash knew that and he would invite me to attend the music sittings. Slowly, I became a part of that group,” she has gone on record in the documentary.

The family, in a statement, has said, “With heavy hearts, the Chopra family would like to inform you that Pamela Chopra, 74, passed away this morning. Her cremation took place at 11 am today. We are grateful for your prayers and the family would like to request for privacy in this moment of deep sadness and reflection.”

Even as I am penning this piece in memory of Pam, tributes are pouring in from all corners. Poonam Dhillon has written a heart-wrenching note in memory of a “tremendous lady of grace and intelligence” , Pamela Chopra. Poonam Dhillon said that it was Pamela Chopra who groomed and helped her with her character in the 1978 film Trishul. The actress wrote, “Lost a tremendous lady of grace, Intelligence, integrity, love, strength, and generosity Pamela Yash Chopra. I can easily go on about her limitless amazing qualities. Pam Aunty was my mentor, the person who groomed me from a gawky teenager to a film actor presentable on screen in Trishul.”

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Remembering the wonderful time, she had spent with Pamela Chopra, Poonam Dhillon said, “I have spent such precious time with her where I have learnt a lot from her. I truly will miss her intensely, as will everyone who knew her personally.” Poonam Dhillon continued, “Her Saturday screenings at Yash Raj Studio were a much-awaited weekly event marked on all our calendars. Her carefully curated meals were a delight and fabulous.”

Anushka Sharma, Vaani Kapoor, Amaal Mallik, Juhi Chawla and Javed Akhtar have also paid rich tributes on social media. Javed Akhtar said on twitter, “Today Pamji the better half of Shri Yash Chopra has passed away. She was a great lady, who was intelligent, educated, warm and witty. Those who like me have worked closely with Yash ji know about her contribution in his scripts and music. She was an exceptional person.”