Admitting he'd never make it big in Bollywood, Uday Chopra goes to Hollywood, but not as actor
In a summer green shirt and faded denims, Uday Chopra is comfortable in
his sprawling office that looks out to a carefully tended terrace
garden. You sense it is a season of change ' the gardeners are pruning
the rambunctious monsoon plants while the scion
of one of Bollywood's most influential families is chipping away at his new role as CEO of Yash Raj Entertainment
He's heading the banner's international film producing and financing subsidiary that's working with Olivia Wilde
, Nicole Kidman
and Olivier Dahan of La Vie En Rose fame. He has just launched a comic
book label called Yomics ("pronounce it y-yomics; there is a nice lilt
to it") that draws from characters of famous Yash Raj films, while he
continues to be occasional actor in films like the Dhoom franchise.
"Of the three, acting will remain my first love. But it has taken a
back seat," says Chopra, who hasn't been a favourite with the box
office. "There came a point when I had to be realistic. I knew I would
never really hit stardom or make a successful career out of acting. I
had to change tracks," he says.
It was five years ago, during a casual chat with older brother Aditya Chopra
that the idea of creating a presence in the "world's most competitive
film industry" was born. "We knew we wanted to do something in
Hollywood, but didn't know how. It was impossible for Aditya to shut
shop and move to LA. I could have done it, but I wasn't ready then."
Significant flops (Neal 'n' Nikki, Pyar Impossible), and a heartbreak later (he dated actress Tanisha Mukherjee
for two years), Chopra was left with two options. "I could go behind
the scenes, and turn filmmaker. Or do something radical." The first
option was ruled out, considering father Yash Chopra
and Aditya's towering legacy.
"I didn't want to be Aditya Chopra's clone. At best, I would have been
another Aditya Chopra. That may be great for a lot of people, but not
for me," he says with startling honesty.
Chopra's decision to start from scratch in 2010 ' he began by signing up for a film course at the University of California
Los Angeles, before launching YRE ' was met with resistance. "My father
thought I was mad," he smirks. "In LA, no one knows YRF. They might
agree to grant you one meeting. But the brand does not open doors the
way it does here."
Clinching his first deal for The Longest
Week was tough for someone who had no idea how to make a perfect pitch.
But that seems to have changed. Hear him speak about how he managed to
secure the script
for Kidman-starrer Grace of Monaco
in the face of furious bidding, and you know he has come of age.
The candour wanes when we speak of Nargis Fakhri
though. "She is a friend. And no, she is not doing a film with us. I
keep my professional and personal circles apart," he says of the actress
he's been spotted with repeatedly.
"I am happy," says the
39-year-old as we prepare to wrap up. "Equations have changed, even
within this office. People treat with me with a lot more respect."http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/bollywood/news-interviews/I-didnt-want-to-be-Aditya-Chopras-clone-Uday-Chopra/articleshow/15361384.cms