Prem Chopra is that soft-spoken villain Bollywood has seen and enjoyed for years. An unforgettable face with the needed accuracy, he would ace the role of on-screen villains by winning hearts in real life. Here's to the veteran actor and his acting skills!
Born on 23rd September 1935
Prem Chopra didn't start as an actor initially but his passion for acting did help him rule the villain world of Bollywood, even until today. Till date, he has acted in a total of 380 films that span over a career of 60 years. Unlike the roaring and coarse voiced villains, Prem Chopra's sets of characters have always had a very soft diction style like him and it won't be a lie to say that it adds up more to their arcs. His portrayal of a villain however has always been realistically great and quite impactful. It has been great to such an extent that there was once a time when Chopra was out and about leisurely visiting someplace when suddenly men saw him and their instant reaction was to hide their own women!
Chopra was born on 23rd September 1935 in Lahore. Post India's partition, his family shifted to Shimla where he spent the rest of his days growing up. He completed his schooling at S.D Senior Secondary School, Shimla and went to Panjab University for his college. His interest in acting sparked up during his college days. Chopra would enthusiastically participate in his college dramatic plays and had thus decided to step into the field of acting. His father on the other hand wanted him to become a doctor and was firmly against it. Despite his family's denial, Chopra went to Bombay to start his journey of acting.
The struggle towards stardom had thus begun. He spent his initial days in Colaba guest houses and would frequently visit film studios to show his portfolio but the outcomes were often discouraging. To survive in a metro city and afford basic necessities, Chopra went job hunting and finally ended up with a job in the Times of India. He had to oversee the process of newspaper circulation by touring for 20 days a month. Juggling everyday tours, work and then acting altogether? Yes. Prem Chopra's strong will had him complete his work in a smart way to get free days later for studio hopping.
All his hard work paid off when one random day he was travelling through a train and got asked by a man if he was interested in acting. After agreeing with him, the man took him to Ranjit studios where Jagjit Sethi, a Punjabi producer was in search of someone to cast as a hero. Chopra thus made his debut as Jabeen Jalil in Chaudhary Karnail Singh which was a Punjabi film.
The film was based on a Hindu-Muslim love story caught up in the jaws of the Indo-Pak partition. It performed exceptionally well on the film screens and ended up being a huge hit among the audience. Chopra sadly lost his mother to mouth cancer before his first movie got released but despite the sad times, he carried on with his hustle.
After this movie, work came flowing his way but the job at the Times of India was still on. While working there, he was soon seen making appearances in Hindi movies like Woh Kaun Thi?, Teesri Manzil and Shaheed.
Although he acted in all these movies, Chopra still hadn't started working as an actor full time. Forget that, he even continued his work with the Times of India despite many of his films becoming box office hits! Chopra surely had great inclination towards whatever he put his mind into. His villain spree started after someone on the set of Main Shaadi Karne Chala suggested he act as a villain.
After his performance in Teesri Manzil and Upkaar, films with him as a villain kept flooding in. At this point, he finally quit his job at the Times of India to give all his time to acting. The peak of his career as a villain then began in 1967.
Prem Chopra's reign as a villain went on continuously from 1967-95. He even acted as a villain with the other famous villain actors like Pran, Madan Puri, Amrish Puri, Prem Nath and so on. In these times, many of his dialogues thus ended up becoming popular among masses and have been trendy up until today. Chopra's famous "Prem naam hai mera, Prem Chopra" from Bobby and "Main jo aag lagata hoon use boojhana bhi jaanta hoon" from Kati Patang are still memorable and afresh in the minds of many.
Out of all the movies he has done, he has done 19 films together with Rajesh Khanna. Their hero-villain duo during those times was considered to be one hell of an unmissable act. Out of the 19 films he did with Khanna as a villain, 15 of them turned out to be huge blockbuster hits. In his long-lasting tenure, he acted in many more films that came his way like Chhupa Rustom, Azaad, Des Pardes, Do Raaste, Daag, Dostaana, Aaj ka Arjun, Khiladi, Dhule Raja, Raja Babu and so on.
It is only right to say that Prem Chopra had an amazing 50 years of career span in acting.
*"Although I came to be a hero, my films as a leading man flopped. Which was good in a way because a whole new world opened in front of me. There were so many more roles I could do. When I established myself as a villain it could continue for years."—*Prem Chopra
Your villainous roles win hearts like no other heroes! Wishing you a great life.
You might be interested in reading more from