MUMBAI: Kamal Haasan met the doyen of the Hindi film industry – Yash Chopra a few weeks before the latter’s passing away.
“And then I hear he’s gone!” says the actor, shocked beyond words. “This is no way to go. We met frequently. I met him for the last time three weeks ago. He was as enthusiastic as ever, though self admittedly he was feeling weak. I asked him why. His eyes twinkled like a child and he said, ‘When you reach 32 you can’t have the same energy level as when you are 19.’ We laughed heartily at that one. Yash ji’s 80 years sat really comfortably on his shoulders. He never felt the weight of being THE Yash Chopra. He was in love with cinema. Not with its trappings. In that sense we were similar. When we met we were both like kids in a toy store staring at all the goodies around us. There was so much to imbibe, so much to do.”
What Kamal Haasan found the most endearing about the architect of the Yashraj empire was his simplicity.
“The sense of wonderment never left Yashji, no matter how much older he got he still had the same enthusiasm level every time we met. When we met last he told me about how he would meet in Chennai next for a song that A R Rahman was supposed to give him for his new film. That was never meant to be.”
Many times Yash Chopra and Kamal Haasan came close to cracking an idea they could work on.
“Don’t ask me why we never worked together until now. We were too busy discussing ideas to actually get down to doing anything concrete. I’ve no regrets about not working with him. Just spending time discussing ideas with him was an experience worth treasuring. Even at 80 when I met him for the last time he was wonder-struck by the marvel of the motion-picture technique, of what magic it could do. Every time he liked something I said he would lean over like a school boy with that look which said, ‘Really? We can actually do that?’ I’ll miss that unconditional sense of pleasure in the existence of cinema during my visits to Mumbai.”