"Prem naam hai mera Prem Chopra."

Early Years
In 1960 Prem Chopra came down from Simla to try his luck in films and like most hopefuls wanted to become a hero. He started out as a leading man in a Punjabi film Choudhary Karnail Singh. Around that time he met Mr. Tolaram Jalaram of Filmistan studios and a writer Mr. Bakshi. Bakshi had one look at him and said that if he could somehow give up dreams of becoming a hero and become a villain, he would sweep the market because he was good-looking. This was the time Pran was venturing into mature roles and there was a vacuum for negative characters. He decided to take a chance and gave the slot of 'villain' a shot. A shot which worked and how?

With the success of his films such as Teesri Manzil, Woh Kaun Thi, Do Raaste and Kati Patang, suddenly his negative image became so strong that people's attitude towards him started changing. Reactions outside the film industry were hilarious! Husbands began sheilding their wives when they saw him. Children began to weep. All this proved that he was doing a good job of his roles. This he did, however whilst bringing out variations in his performances. Right from the 60's he has worked with nothing but the best of co-actors, actresses and directors.

"The Musical 1960's."
It was a decade in which some of the most significant Prem Chopra starrers were screened. Like Teesri Manzil, the Manoj Kumar films like Shaheed, Upkaar and Purab aur Paschim -- displaying various hues to the versatile actor's talent. It was also the era in which Rajesh khanna had started wooing both the romantic and the not-so-romantic. When pit against him, Prem Chopra held his own in films like Kati Patang and Do Raaste.

"The Violent 1970's."
Be it in brief appearances such as in Bobby, or extensive ones as in Daag, Prem Nagar and Mehbooba, Prem Chopra never failed to make his mark. The 70's was the transitionary period wherein Amitabh Bachhan replaced Rajesh Khanna as the Cinematic King. But Prem Chopra remained just there, sharing the limelight with Amitabh Bachhan in Kala Pathar, Do Anjaane, The Great Gambler and Trishul amongst other films.

"The Dynamic 1980's."
The 80's heralded a time a new generation of actors were creating waves. Jackie Shroff, Anil Kapoor, sunny deol to name a few. Prem Chopra succeessfully matched this new lot. While he worked with Dharmendra in numerous films, he now also lent able support to son sunny deol in Betaab, Arjun, Manzil Manzil amongst other films. Both father Manoj Kumar (Kranti) and son Kunal (Ricky) had to contend with the same baddie Prem Chopra. He also went on to share the honours with Jeetendra during the latter's "Madras phase" in hits like Mawaali, Maqsad, Majaal etc.

"The Energised 1990's."
The favourite in the fast pace of the 90's could change every Friday depending on the box-office collections. There were many contenders and Prem Chopra schemed against all of them on screen. Some instances are Salman Khan (Jagriti), akshay Kumar (Khiladi, Aflatoon), Shahrukh Khan (Zamana Diwana), Govinda (Anari no. 1, Dulhe Raja) and Ajay Devgan (Hindustan Ki Kasam)

Into the new millenium !
Recent movies have included Koi Mil Gaya, Bunty aur Bubli, Virrudh, Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara, Dhamaal, Rocket Singh, Delhi 6, Daddy Cool, Rocket Singh.

"My Favourite Performances."
In his own words Prem Chopra recounts the roles which he holds close to his heart.
Shaheed (1965) : undoubtedly one of my favourites. I play the role of Sukhdeo the freedonm fighter who sacrifices his life for the country. This film on patriotism was made with great economic difiiculties, but it came across as one of the most honest and pure films. people who see this film even now, cry unfailingly. such is the impact of this film.
Upkaar (1967) : In this film I had a role which had various shades to it. In the beginning I am a dutifu, obedient brother, then the role gets shades of grey in it when I become a city boy and finally the charachter becomes negative, it was a good test for a perforemer. And since the film was a great success, it helped me in becoming a star.
Do Raaste (1969) : this is an evergreen family-oriented film. I had one of the best roles in the film, which waspower-packed. It was applauded by all critics who went on to say that the hero of the film is Prem Chopra, the second hero is Balraj Sahni and the third hero is Rajesh Khanna. this despite the fact that my potrayal was negative - That of the 'bad son'.
Kati Patang (1970) : Another popular performance for whichI received many awards. I was even nominated for the 'Filmfare' award. The story was interesting considering the fact that the heroine Asha Parekh nearly ruins her life for envisioning me as her 'hero'.
Bobby (1973) : Initially I was quite reluctant to do this film since it was a special appearance. but as it was Raj Kapoor's film and he expressed a great desire to work with me I could not refuse, but the impact of this small role was much, much more than many bigger ones I had done. The audience used to clap and show excitement every time I came on screen. my one-liner 'Prem naam hai mera...Prem Chopra went on to become so popular that on every traffic signal I had the little beggar children surrounding my car and repeating that line.
Do Anjaane (1976) : This film got me the 'Filmfare' award. the role was very interesting and I had ful scope to perform and notwithstanding the fact that Amitabh Bachan was the hero, my performance was very much appreciated.
Jaadu Tona (1977) : This film was based on the English film Exorcist. I had an absolutely positive role in the film where I play the father of the little girl who is possessed. I consider it one of my superlative roles, but unfortunately the film flopped.
Dostana (1980) : I was pitched against two powerful performers Amitabh Bachan and Shatrughan sinha, but I received my share of acting honours. My role was like a godfather in the film but I tried to give it a different perspective by essaying the charachter with normalcy and without any exaggeration.
Kranti (1981) : Once again a very effective patriotic film, which had a huge starcast like Dilip Kumar, Shashi Kapoor, Hema Malini, Manoj Kumar etc and it was great working with all of them. My role ranged from youth right upto old age. the charachter had a big span and naturally my performance could go through various shades and graphs.
Phool Bane Angaarey (1991) :A film which revolved around Rekha and me. Although Rajnikant was there in the film, he dies before the interval. My role of a Minister had many variations and went on to become very popular.

Recent roles :-

    Chori Chori Chupke Chupke(2001) - The noble Doctor who is also a loyal confidante .
    Koi Mil Gaya (2003) - The Calculative Collector in a small town where an alien lands.
    Bunty Aur Bubli (2005) As the saintly sardar
    Umar (2006) As the elder parent abandoned by his children
    Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year (2009) as P.S. Bedi
    Delhi-6 (2009) as Lala Bhairam
    Daddy Cool (2009) as Uncle murphy
    Rocket Singh (2010) as PS Bedi, grandfather to Rocket Singh.

with Atul Bihari Vajpayee
AWARDS

Awards have been magnetised towards Prem Chopra's showcase with utmost regualrity. For the film 'Do Anjaane', he won the FilmFare Best Supporting Actor Award. Seen in the picture with the then MP Atal Bihari Vajpayee now PM.

Amongst other awards won the Giants honoured him with the 'Lifetime Achievement Award'. His talent also meritted him the Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini Award in 1998, the Lions Club Award, Ashoka Award, Ashirwad Award and the Punjabi Kala Sangam Award.

Multitudes of trophies stand as testimony to the numerous 'Silver Jubilee' runs that his films have enjoyed during a career spanning 35 years ...Do Anjaane, Do Jasoos, Arjun, Laadla, Swarg Se Sunder, Ghar Ek Mandir, Dulhe Raja, Maqsad, Phool Bane Angaarey, Daag, Hukumat, Purab Aur Paschim, Upkar, Mawaali, Raja Jani, Ilzaam, Aamne Saamne, Mehbooba, Kala Patthar, Charanon Ki Sauganndh, Farz Aur Kanoon, Phool Aur Angaar, Paapi, Kasam Khoon Ki, Dostana, Azaad, and Golden Jubilees....Do Raaste, Raja Babu, Betaab and Platium Jubilees...Trishul.

He also represented India as Grand Marshall in Chicago on August 15th, 1993 during the Independence day Parade. There he was honoured by the Chicago Mayor as the 'Honarary Citizen of Chicago' and felicitated by the Federation of Indian Association with an award for outstanding contribution to humanitarian causes and enriching the Indian commuity in India and abroad.

In the year 2011 he has been honoured with the Mother Teresa Award for his humanitarian work and five-decade-long career. He has also won Lifetime Achievement Award at the India Film Festival held in Ireland 2011 and again at the Punjabi Virsa Awards 2011. December 2011 he was felicitated with the Maharashtra Ratna.

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