He will be celebrating 80th birthday next month. Born on 23rd September, 1935. He spent around five decades and played popular villain roles in Bollywood. His best roles in movies like Shaheed (1965), Upkaar (1967), Purab Aur Pashchim, Do Raaste (1969), Kati Patang (1970),Do Anjaane (1976),Jaadu Tona (1977), Kala Sona, Dostana (1980), Kranti (1981), Phool Bane Angaarey (1991),Bewaffa Se Waffa are still appreciated. He is the recipient of many prestigious award & honored with Filmfare (best supporting actor) Award in 1976 for Do Anjane hindi film. Our Managing Editor S.S.Dogra interviewed Bollywood star Prem Chopra at his residence in Mumbai. Let’s find out what he shared with him. Excerpts:
Tell me about your early age & association with acting.
In my early young age I used to act in my native place Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.After completion of my graduation, I decided to become actor. My father clearly told me that if you want to become IAS officer he could spend money upon him otherwise you have to find out your potential there in the cinema world .
When you move to Mumbai?
In the early 60s. As a hero, My first film was Chaudhary Karnail Singh. Its an interesting story that I got the offer this film in the local train. During travel in the local train, one person came to me and asked do you like to act in the movie. He took me to Ranjeet Studio, there Director said OK. I selected & director instructed me that the shooting of the said film would take place in Pune. But as you know that I was working for Times of India Group as Circulation Manager, so I pretended in the office & took leave for ten days. After the success of this film, I got three more Punjabi movies but came to know that these Punjabi movies are of low budget so I thought that I should move to Hindi Cinema.
When you got the opportunity in Hindi movie?
Way back in 1966, “Kanwari” was my first Hindi movie in which I was main lead hero. Wadia Movies offered me a lead role in “Main Shaadi Karne Chala” and employed me on 500/-rupees monthly salary. But I was not dare to leave my Times Group job because there I was getting rupees one thousand salary plus TA & DA and heading as Circulation Manager for Odisa, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Punjab & Western Bengal. Movies like Woh Kaun Thi, Shaheed, Main Shaadi Karne Chala and Teesri Manzil , after Upkaar in 1967, I left The Times of India job to concentrate solely on acting.
What is your most favourite dialogue which you also love?
Prem Naam hai mera Prem Chopra , still, is my most popular dialogue from bollywood superhit Hindi movie Bobby.
Memorable moments in bollywood.
The famous film directors like Raj Kapoor, Shakti Samant, Raj Khoshla, Majoj Kumar were very passionate about Cinema. They drink, eat and sleep with picture that’s why they are still alive. Raj Kapoor Saheb used to take lot of drink but he was always remained dedicate himself into his films only. I learnt lot of things from these film directors and yes off course Cinema is still my passion.
Are you associated with any game?
Yes, I was a good cricketer & played badminton also. I remembered in a charity match, played at Eden Garden, Kolkota, where I scored unbeaten half century as opening batsman and won Man of the Match. This match was played between Cine Star & some Ranji/Test Cricketer.
How sports important in our life?
I love sports & to keep myself fit, I do swimming daily. This is the secret of my good health also.
Have you ever noticed about resemblances with Shammi Kapoor Saheb?
Yes, some actress noticed and expressed that I have resemblance with Shammi Kapoor Saheb during my hay days. But I was enjoying with my villain role & that was the peak era of my film career. So could not think over such topic seriously.
Why do you cut your hair & keep yourself bald?
I was on holidays in the Europe where one foreign Director offered me a role of Saint but his demand was a bald person. I agreed upon and that’s how I still don’t keep hair on my head. Moreover, I get rid of coloring & combing them. It also improve my look & everybody like my new bald look.
Relationship of Your family & Bollywood?
It has been a special relationship Prem Nath sahib, Rajendra Nath Saheb, Narendra Nath Saheb all Brother-in-laws, Krishna Kapoor (Sister-in-law) wife of Raj Kapoor Saheb, Sharman Joshi (Son-in-law). My wife Uma Chopra support & contribution make me shine in the bollywood. I have three daughters namely Prerna Chopra, Punita Chopra and Rakita Chopra are directly or indirectly in the cinema world. By the grace of God, I am satisfied with my work and keep myself engage in acting. I enjoy each and every moment of my life even at this age.
What is personal mantra for acting?
I always tried to justified my role whatever role I offered by my directors.
What is the secret of your success?
I believe, whatever you do, do it whole heartedly, honestly & hard work leads you to what you want to achieve. This is life mantra of my success.