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Yashji made me a lyricist: Javed Akhtar

I worked for the first time with Yashji in Deewar and it turned out to be one of the most memorable films that we ever did together. Salim saab and I first met him when he was doing a film with Gulshan Rai and he promised to do a film with us. That was almost 40 years ago, and we did Deewar in 72-73.

Dilip Kumar and wife Saira Banu
The end of an era: Hours after Yash Chopra passed away, thespian Dilip Kumar and wife Saira Banu visit Lilavati Hospital, Bandra to pay their respects and console his grieving family.

However, it was during Trishul when we went to Delhi to write the script with him when we became close friends. That’s when I realised that he was so entertaining.

Anil Kapoor
Anil Kapoor also visited the hospital. Pics/Omkar Gaokar

He was a complete foodie and Salimsaab, him and I shared a lot during that trip. That man had a great sense of humour too.

In fact, he was the one who encouraged me to take up lyric writing. Not many people know that Yashji was the one who actually made me a lyricist with Silsila. He literally pushed me to write my first song ‘dekha ek khwab to yeh silsile huye’.

Javed Akhtar with Yash Chopra
Close pals: Javed Akhtar with Yash Chopra. File pic

The news of his demise is shocking not only for me, but everyone in the film industry. He was totally full of life and I guess everyone who has worked with him must be extremely sad today. His film ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ is about to release and we are all sure that the film will be a huge success, but he won’t be around to enjoy it.

I have some fond memories of him. We have after all done many successful films like Kala Patthar and Silsila with him. I have also written lyrics for his film ‘Veer Zaara’.

Even when we were not working together, we used to always meet with a lot of warmth. He was an extremely lively person and we will all remember him for his masterpieces like Deewar, Kabhi Kabhi, Trishul, Lamhe etc.

— As told to Kunal M Shah

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