JVPD, Mumbai, India
Bombay ScottishHRCCEUniversity of Mumbai
DirectorProducer (Film & Telefilm)ScreenwriterBroadcast Producer (Telefilm)Distributor (Film & Telefilm)Co-founder of Yash Raj StudiosChairman of Yash Raj Films
Rani Mukerji (m. 2014), Payal Khanna (m. 2001–2009)
Yash Chopra, Pamela Chopra
Karan Johar, Simi Garewal, Ravi Chopra, Amrita Garewal
DDLJ Making Of The Film - Part III - Aditya Chopra | Shah Rukh Khan | Kajol
Aditya Chopra (born 21 May 1971) is an Indian film director, producer, screenwriter, broadcast producer and distributor. His work as a director includes Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Mohabbatein (2000), Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008) and Befikre (2016).
- DDLJ Making Of The Film Part III Aditya Chopra Shah Rukh Khan Kajol
- DDLJ Making Of The Film Part I Aditya Chopra Shah Rukh Khan Kajol
- Personal life
- Yash Raj Films
- 2004 break through
- YRF Studios
- YRF Home Entertainment
- YRF Music
- Walt Disney buyout refusal
- As vice chairman
- 2011 landmark deal
- As chairman
- Work with new comers Talent Management
- YRF Entertainment
- YRF South
- Tie ups
- Son of Sardar
- Return to film direction Befikre 2016
He is also the current chairman of India's multi-national film, media and entertainment conglomerate, Yash Raj Films (YRF). Chopra has written and produced a number of critically acclaimed and commercially successful films under the banner like Veer-Zaara (2004), Fanaa (2006), Band Baaja Baaraat (2010), Ek Tha Tiger (2012), Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012), The Dhoom Trilogy (2004, 2006 & 2013) and Sultan (2016). He has tried to break away from typecast and forayed into production of off-beat films in projects like Kabul Express (2006), Chak De! India (2007), Rocket Singh (2009), Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015) and Fan (2016), that do not necessarily fit into the realms of masala films. Chopra is also the first Indian film producer to move towards a true film studio model through independent projects helmed by producers, writers and directors under his YRF banner. Major production and post-production work of the company is now carried out of YRF Studios, (co-founded by his ex-wife Payal Khanna and Yash Chopra) where Chopra serves as Chief Executive. As of July 2016, he has produced eight films that have accumulated worldwide gross earnings of more than INR 200 crore (which is the most for an Indian film producer).
Apart from emerging as an equitable brand, his company has earned the status of a movie mogul in Indian entertainment. His company is often credited for breaking away from the small business model that was historically used by the Indian film industry and introducing a rigid hub and spoke model by establishing distribution networks across the globe. With a majority of his work being part of the highest grossing Indian films of all time, the company is estimated to be net worth of ₹6,200 crore (US$970 million) (as of second quarter of Fiscal 2015) by multiple NSE and BSE analysts, thereby making it the biggest and most successful film production company in the history of Indian cinema. The Government of India honoured him with the National Film Award for his contribution to Indian Cinema, on three separate years (1995, 2005, 2007) through the Directorate of Film Festivals. Widely regarded as one of the most influential and powerful Executive's in Indian films, Chopra has however remained extremely media-shy, battling constant reports of an alleged dysthymic disorder throughout his three-decade career.
DDLJ Making Of The Film - Part I | Aditya Chopra | Shah Rukh Khan | Kajol
Chopra, the elder son of the late filmmaker Yash Chopra and Pamela Chopra, was born on 21 May 1971. He completed his formal education and acquired his Indian Certificate of Secondary Education from Bombay Scottish School. He graduated from Hassaram Rijhumal College of Commerce and Economics along with Anil Thadani, Karan Johar and Abhishek Kapoor. He was married to Payal Khanna, until their divorce in 2009. The couple had no children. On, 21 April 2014, he married actress Rani Mukerji in a private wedding ceremony in Italy. In December 2015, Rani gave birth to their daughter Adira Chopra
Chopra started his film making career at the age of 18 as an assistant director, working with his father on films like Chandni (1989), Lamhe (1991) and Darr (1993). He also wrote his first screenplays for his father's Parampara (1992) and his mother's independently produced film Aaina (1993) which was the only film not directed by his father that he served as an assistant director on. Chopra, after gaining a respectable amount of experience, started independently at the age of 23 with the all-time blockbuster Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge with Shahrukh Khan and Kajol for which he was the director and writer. The film was scripted by Chopra and produced by his father Yash Chopra, under the Yash Raj Films banner. Chopra started work on the script of the film in 1990, at the age of 19, and gradually spent time making about five drafts of the film's original script. Chopra even managed to convince his brother Uday Chopra and Karan Johar, both aspiring film makers, to enter the film industry as assistant director's along with the film. Chopra once said that the presence of his relatives during the making of the film worked as a huge emotional support. Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge eventually went on to become one of the biggest hits of all time and won the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment.
Yash Raj Films
Chopra eventually went on to write the dialogues and the story of his father's 1997 blockbuster Dil To Pagal Hai (which won the National Award), also made under Yash Raj Films. His next film as a director was Mohabbatein with Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan which gave the yester year star a new life in his film career and also launched his brother Uday Chopra into the film industry. The film was also written and co-produced by Chopra and fared very well at the box office. The next film under the Yash Raj Films banner was Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai, in 2002 and also starred his brother Uday. The film did moderately well at the box office.
In 2004, Chopra produced Hum Tum, Dhoom and Veer Zaara (for which he was also the screenwriter) under the YRF banner. All three films went on to become critical and commercial blockbusters, earning more than ₹199 crore (US$31 million) (unadjusted for inflation) in the worldwide market. The films became the seventh, fourth and highest-grossing Indian films of 2004. The company won most of the Indian film awards in the year, with Veer Zaara also winning the National Award. This was considered a major break-through for this film producing company and cemented its position as the leader of Indian Entertainment for the following decades which runs till now.
Chopra then produced and wrote several other highly commercial and critically acclaimed films over the years, namely Bunty Aur Babli, Salaam Namaste, Fanaa, Dhoom 2 and Chak De India (which also won the National Award). Chopra also made his third film as a director in 2008 with Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi starring Shahrukh Khan and launching newcomer Anushka Sharma. The film became the highest-grossing film for Shahrukh Khan and Yash Raj Films at that time, grossing ₹172 crore (US$27 million) in the worldwide market. These films established Yash Raj Films as the most powerful film production company in the history of Indian cinema, Aditya Chopra is an estimated net worth of ₹6,200 crore (US$970 million) (trade and stock market estimate) and making Chopra one of the most influential people in the country.
YRF launched a number of budding screenwriters and directors under their banner throughout these years. Directors and screenwriters such as Karan Johar (his Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was co-produced and released by Yash Raj Film Distributors), Kunal Kohli, Kabir Khan, Sanjay Gadhvi, Jaideep Sahni, Siddharth Anand, Shimit Amin, Habib Faisal, Shaad Ali, Maneesh Sharma and Vijay Acharya debuted under Yash Raj Films and have gone on to become independent entities in films. The company also produced films for filmmakers such as Anil Mehta and Pradeep Sarkar under their banner. Yash Raj Films was eventually ranked at Number 1 (among the most successful film production companies in India) in a survey conducted by Filmfare and at Number 27 (among the most successful film production companies in the world) in a survey by The Hollywood Reporter, both under the vice-chairmanship of Chopra.
On realising the lack of a proper film shooting studio during their years of film making, YRF gradually went on build their dream film production studio in the year 2005, located in Mumbai city. The first film to be shot in YRF Studios was the company's 2006 critical and commercial blockbuster, Fanaa. Some of the notable films of outside banners that were shot in the studio over the years are; Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006), Partner (2007), Taare Zameen Par (2007), Dostana (2008), Wanted (2009), 3 Idiots (2009), My Name Is Khan (2010), Dabangg (2010), Bodyguard (2011), Ra.One (2011), Agneepath (2012), Chennai Express (2013), Jai Ho (2014) and P.K. (2014). The studio was created and designed by Chopra and his then wife, Payal Khanna and is equipped with high technology film shooting equipment and goods. The studio sprawling over 20 acres (81,000 m2) and towering up to six floors is used to shoot films for the company and is also rented for other film makers and television shoots like 10 Ka Dum and Kaun Banega Crorepati for Sony and Kya Aap Paanchvi Pass Se Tez Hain, Koffee With Karan and Satyamev Jayate for STAR.
YRF Home Entertainment
Apart from film production, Chopra's Yash Raj Films also distributed (theatrical, home entertainment and satellite) and canvassed a wide variety of Independent films that came out of the Parallel Cinema industry of India like Godmother (1999), Zubeidaa (2001), Maqbool (2004), Meenaxi: A Tale of Three Cities (2004), Black (2005), My Brother Nikhil (2005), Mangal Pandey: The Rising (2005) and Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara (2005) that helped them leverage against a powerful film production house such as his and thereby reach a wider audience on their release. Yash Raj Film Distributors also released several big-budgeted films such as Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), Biwi No.1 (1999), Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai (2000), Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001), Koi Mil Gaya (2003), Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003), Krrish (2006) and Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006). In 2013, the company's distribution leg reportedly sold the satellite rights of its highly anticipated venture, Dhoom 3 for ₹75 crore (US$12 million) to Sony Entertainment Television.
After constantly delivering musical successes like Darr, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge and Dil To Pagal Hai throughout the years of its existence, the company decided to leverage on their growing clout in the music industry. YRF established their independent feature music distribution leg under the name YRF Music in 2004. The leg was developed for the purpose of digital as well as physical distribution of all the film soundtracks released under the banner. The first soundtrack to be distributed under YRF Music was the company's critical and commercial musical blockbuster Veer Zaara. The leg established careers of a lot budding music composers throughout the years, who leveraged themselves against scoring music for YRF projects, like Jatin Lalit (Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge), Shankar Ehsaan Loy (Bunty Aur Babli), Pritam (Dhoom), Vishal Shekhar (Salaam Namaste), Salim Sulaiman (Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi), Amit Trivedi (Ishaqzaade), Ram Sampath (Luv Ka The End), Sajid Wajid (Daawat-e-Ishq), Sohail Sen (Mere Brother Ki Dulhan), Raghu Dixit (Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge), Sachin Jigar (Shuddh Desi Romance) and Amartya Rahut (Aurangzeb).
Walt Disney buyout-refusal
The Walt Disney Company entered Indian Entertainment in 2007 through a three-film co-production agreement (Ta Ra Rum Pum, Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic and Roadside Romeo) with Yash Raj Films. Disney's move was seen as a bid to increase its global clout and finally entering the increasingly lucrative Indian Cinema arena. Moreover, it offered a 49% acquisition of YRF at ₹2,500 crore (US$390 million) (unadjusted for inflation) in 2009, which took the valuation of the Indian entertainment company to ₹5,000 crore (US$780 million), at the time. However, YRF declined the acquisition offer made by the American conglomerate, as it wanted to continue as an independent film production house in India. But in 2011, a 99% share acquisition offer by Walt Disney Studios was accepted by UTV at ₹2,000 crore (US$310 million) (unadjusted for inflation). The two companies together established Disney UTV, that now functions as the Indian subsidiary of the American company. In December 2016, The Walt Disney Company announced that is restructuring its Indian operations and UTV Software Communications will no longer be a Disney subsidiary.
The company saw an all-time low, with several of their high budgeted films not doing well at the box office despite favourable critical reviews and the company thereby suffering losses amounting to millions from 2007 to 2010. The film's broke YRF's perfect success ratio and were oddly released one after another. Some of the most unsuccessful films produced under the banner were Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, Laaga Chunari Mein Daag, Tashan, Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic, Roadside Romeo, and Pyaar Impossible. Chopra, then took over as the Vice Chairman of Yash Raj Films in 2010, soon after the release of the film Badmaash Company under the same banner.
2011 landmark deal
In 2011, Yash Raj Films took the critical decision of banking on the successes of 3 Idiots, Ra.One and Bodyguard and went into production of three individual mainstream films with Aamir Khan for Dhoom 3 (for which Chopra wrote the story), Shahrukh Khan for Jab Tak Hai Jaan (for which Chopra wrote the story, screenplay and dialogue) and with Salman Khan for Ek Tha Tiger (for which Chopra wrote the story), a feat that has never been achieved by any film production company, till date. The move was seen as a landmark deal by YRF as it engaged three of the most successful box office actors of Indian Cinema in independent projects, at the time. Moreover, the three films turned out to be the most expensive productions by YRF; Ek Tha Tiger was produced at ₹75 crore (US$12 million), Jab Tak Hai Jaan was produced at ₹60 crore (US$9.4 million) and Dhoom 3 was produced at ₹150 crore (US$23 million).
All three of these films shattered Box Office records of India and went on to become some of the highest-grossing films of their time. Ek Tha Tiger, which released on the 66th Independence Day of India, earned approximately ₹320 crore (US$50 million) and thereby became the eleventh highest-grossing film of Indian Cinema.Jab Tak Hai Jaan opened worldwide on the Diwali day of 2012 and went on to earn ₹241 crore (US$38 million) and became the fifteenth highest-grossing film in India. Dhoom 3 released in (Hindi, Tamil, Telugu & Arabic) on the Christmas week of 2013 and grossed approximately ₹542 crore (US$85 million), in the worldwide market and went on to become the fourth highest-grossing film of Indian Cinema, as of January 2014. The three films gradually helped re-cement the dominant position of YRF in the Indian Entertainment market.
After the demise of his father Yash Chopra in October 2012, Aditya Chopra was elevated to the position of Chairman and Chief Executive of the company's Studio wing. Facing overwhelming pressure by the Indian bourses to be publicly listed around the same period, the company went for a soft-Launch on January 3, 2013.
The company received angel investment by institutional fund-raisers like LIC of India, RNT Associates, PremjiInvest, Catamaran Ventures, Maruti Udyog and Unilazer Ventures. YRF was made open to Indian enterprises only and no FDI was accepted. Venture capitalists also showed interest with Adi Godrej, Y. C. Deveshwar, Kumar Birla, Arundhati Bhattacharya, Anand Mahindra, Chanda Kochhar, Sunil Mittal, Shikha Sharma and Uday Kotak investing undisclosed sums. YRF gradually went on to re-position itself into an extremely agile and aggressive film producing entity that came out with an increasing number of films, under the chairmanship of Chopra and the new management.
Work with new-comers (Talent Management)
Apart from producing big-budgeted films with established actors, YRF also announced several films featuring relative new-comers in the fourth quarter of Fiscal year 2012; Aurangzeb starring Prithviraj Sukumaran, Sashaa Agha and Arjun Kapoor, Gunday starring Ranveer Singh, Bewakoofiyan starring Ayushmann Khurrana and Sonam Kapoor, Daawat-e-Ishq with Aditya Roy Kapoor, Mardaani with Rani Mukerji and Kill Dil starring Ali Zafar and Govinda. The films are slated to release all through 2013 and 2014 and are seen as a strategic move by the company to infuse newer talent into Indian Cinema in the form of actors, screenwriters, directors and technicians. In a bid to break away from the traditional star system of Indian Cinema, the company ventured into producing low-budgeted independent film's with new talent (actors, creatives and technicians) from 2008. Apart from working with upcoming actors, the company independently launched several new faces as leading actors in several of their big-budgeted films through their home banner and through Y Films, including:
Sensing a keen following of Indian Cinema in Japan during the Festival de Cannes, YRF Studios decided to re-release Ek Tha Tiger on 8 March 2013 and Jab Tak Hai Jaan on 20 April 2013 in an association with The Nikkatsu Corporation. The deal was further extended to the release of Dhoom 3 on 25 December 2013 during the MAMI Film Festival.
In a bid to strengthen their foothold in the United States and the European market, the company established its international film producing leg; YRF Entertainment, which was solely focused on production and financing of international film content. The first film to independently release under the banner was the 2012 romantic comedy The Longest Week which starred Olivia Wilde, Jason Bateman and Billy Crudup. The film did moderately well in the worldwide box office and managed break-even.
The next film to be released under YRF Entertainment is The Grace of Monaco starring Nicole Kidman and Tim Roth. The film is co-produced by Arash Amel. Primary filming of the project is complete and the film is slated for a March 2014 release. The company also announced its maiden Anglo-Indian film project that would be co-produced by Mira Nair under the Mirabai Films banner and directed by Shimit Amin. In 2013, the company also announced its next venture, Seducing Ingrid Bergman based on the life of Ingrid Bergman, written by Chris Greenhalgh and Arash Amel.
YRF forayed into regional Indian film production in 2013, with Aaha Kalyanam, a remake of their 2010 critical and commercial blockbuster Band Baaja Baaraat starring Nani and debutant Vaani Kapoor. The Tamil-Telugu bilingual project would be directed by Gokul Krishna and produced by Chopra. YRF plans to launch both the lead actress and director with this film. The untitled film completed the first schedule of its principal photography in Chennai in May 2013, with the next two schedules to be held in Hyderabad and Mysore in July 2013. Moreover, the studio also released Tamil and Telugu versions of its Dhoom 3 for the South Indian market. The company plans to deliver remakes from its existing catalog as well as new and original regional content (in Tamil and Telugu), but also content that is set to break into other regional film markets (Malayalam and Tulu) of the south.
Throughout the years of its existence, YRF inked various strategic business agreements with independent film and media entities present in the country.
Photographers of the Indian media caught a glimpse of the extremely reclusive Chopra on 27 December 2008. Chopra's Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi and Aamir Khan's Ghajini were the two big Indian releases of the year 2008 and were pitted against each other by the Press; Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi was to release on Diwali and Ghajini was to release on Christmas, with a gap of a few weeks between them. Chopra was present at a private screening of Ghajini that was held by Khan, for members of the film industry. Chopra was seen leaving through the back entrance of the theatre premise around 2 AM, just before the end credits of the film. On spotting multiple journalists outside the venue, he reportedly panicked and desperately sprinted towards his car to avoid being photographed. Chopra pulled down the sun visor of his car and hid inside it as he drove away. He even dropped his phone and damaged it, in the process. Images of a scared and petrified Chopra covering his face with his arms became front page news of a leading Indian tabloid. The article called Chopra a very powerful man, behaving like a trapped animal, even though it carried a statement by "one of his close friend's" who called him a simple, introverted guy. The event however fuelled further reports of Chopra suffering from an alleged social anxiety disorder and/or APD.
Son of Sardar
Moreover, in 2012, Ajay Devgan, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures and Eros International together moved the Competition Commission of India against Yash Raj Films and Aditya Chopra, accusing the company of using monopolistic business practices and rampantly abusing their dominant position and clout in the Entertainment Industry of India by entering into a tie-in arrangement with 1,500 single screen film exhibitors (out of a total of 2,100) of India, that obliged them to showcase the company's Jab Tak Hai Jaan (and not Son Of Sardar) on the Diwali week of 2012 and continue its theatrical run for two weeks after the worldwide release. The trio eventually moved the Competition Appellate Tribunal on 30 October 2012 against Yash Raj Films but were turned down by the bench heading the Tribunal.
Both films opened on 13 November 2012; Jab Tak Hai Jaan released in 3500 screens and Son Of Sardar released in 2000 screens, in the worldwide market.However, in November 2013, the CCI dismissed the case filing as they found YRF to not be in contravention of the Competition Act of India; YRF won the case.
Raees was a film produced by Excel Entertainment and Red Chillies Entertainment helmed by Rahul Dholakia. Principal photography of the film was completed in April 2015 and a few months were allotted to its post-production work. A teaser/trailer of the film was released across social media platforms and attached to Bajrangi Bhaijaan on July 17, 2015 announcing it as a July 5, 2016 release; packaged and presented as an Eid project. However, sensing an opportunity in the same period, YRF went ahead to green-light its own Sultan slated for a release on the same day, in January 2016. Principal photography with Salman Khan and Anushka Sharma was completed in 3 months followed by post-production work being completed in May. A teaser/trailer and other marketing material featuring both Khan and Sharma were released simultaneously starting April across platforms and networks. The film was ready for a July 5 release and resultantly, around 4230 theatre screens available in India would have been divided among the two films.
Realising a loss in business to both films, Ritesh Sidhwani and Shahrukh Khan, the producers of Raees approached Chopra to work out a settlement to ensure both projects are exhibited comfortably across centres. However, Chopra disagreed to shift his release date stating the poor performance of Khan's prior releases (Happy New Year, Dilwale and Fan) in the global Box Office. Moreover, Chopra ensured that YRF Distributors (his film distribution leg) exhibit Sultan to more than 3100 screens (out of the total 4230), apparently abusing his dominant position and clout in the Entertainment Industry of India, an allegation that he has battled several times in the past.
Sultan eventually released on July 6, 2016, as planned by YRF, across 4310 Indian screens and 1130 screens internationally, to gross ₹601 crore (US$94 million) in the worldwide market and Raees was postponed to January 26, 2017, scheduled to release alongside Kaabil on the same day.
In November 2012, YRF green-lit their first Indian-American war drama co-production titled Paani with DreamWorks Pictures. The film was to be helmed by Shekhar Kapur and Sushant Singh Rajput was signed for the lead role in December of the same year. Principal photography was to start in June 2013 and it was planned as a December 2015 release by both Chopra and Kapur. A. R. Rahman was roped in to score the music of the film and pre-production work started in January 2013 with the entire cast and crew at YRF Studios.
In February 2013, Sanjay Leela Bhansali offered Rajput the lead role in his Shakespearen romantic-tragedy Ram-Leela which was scheduled to be shot throughout the year 2013. Chopra however advised Rajput to turn down the role to focus solely on Paani and led Bhansali to sign Ranveer Singh (through YRF Talent) instead. In November 2013, Chopra shelved Paani stating the poor financial performance of Rajput's Shuddh Desi Romance and affordability issues faced by YRF during pre-production work. Ram-Leela meanwhile opened to overwhelming critical and box office success in the same period with both Bhansali and Singh being awarded extensively for their work.
Rajput was later signed for two other independent YRF projects; Detective Byomkesh Bakshy scheduled to release in April 2015 and Befikre which was scheduled for a December 2016. However, in October 2015, Rajput's contract with YRF Talent was terminated after the box office failure of Detective Byomkesh Bakshy and he was replaced by Ranveer Singh in Befikre.
Return to film direction: Befikre (2016)
In September 2015, YRF announced Chopra's directorial comeback, titled Befikre, scheduled for a December 2016 release. In October 2015, it was announced that Ranveer Singh and Vaani Kapoor would be cast in the lead roles. In December 2015, YRF announced that the music of the film will be produced by Vishal-Shekhar and Jaideep Sahni, both of whom would return to collaborate with YRF after roughly 9 years. This would mark Chopra's directorial come-back after roughly 8 years (his Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi released in 2008). A theatrical trailer of the film was released at the Eiffel Tower and across social media platforms in the month of October. The film was budgeted at ₹70 crore (US$11 million) (including P&A) and released across 2900 screens worldwide on 9 December 2016. It opened to widespread negative reviews across platforms and faced heavy losses to its business because of the currency demonetisation implied by the Government of India a few days prior to its release. The film managed to gross ₹63 crore (US$9.8 million) after a two-week theatrical run at the global box office failing to manage break-even business for YRF.