Prem Chopra recounts experience of working in Hollywood films

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Mumbai: Veteran actor Prem Chopra has carved a niche for himself by delivering cult classics such as ‘Prem Nagar’, ‘Upkar’, and ‘Bobby’ in the industry and became one of the most popular and undisputed villains of all time. The actor also courted fame overseas with some iconic negative roles.

In an exclusive interview with ANI, Prem Chopra revealed that he was offered the role of Godfather in a Hollywood film paying homage to Francis Ford Coppola’s iconic film ‘The Godfather.’

“I had an offer…somebody came to me and said they were making an English film, a Hollywood production with American actors in it. He told me that it was a tribute to ‘Godfather’ (cult crime trilogy directed by iconic American auteur Coppola). I jumped on it thinking I was playing the Godfather.”

Later, Chopra said, he found out that his role wasn’t central to the plot but merely served as a reference to the film. “But when I arrived on the set, I was told that it wasn’t the Godfather, and Godfather was merely a character in the film,” recalls Chopra.

The veteran actor also opened up on his debut 2012 Hollywood film ‘Heartland’, a Punjabi-English film with English as the predominant language and why the character of the Sardar that he essays in the film, refuses to speak in English due to a past experience.

“I did some American films also, including Heartland, which was released all over America. I played a Sardar in the film,” the actor said. “There is a good story around it,” shared Chopra on why the character of the Sardar that he essays in ‘Heartland’ refuses to speak in English.

Chopra reveals that in the film, his character’s son-in-law is based in America, and an English girl was sent to seek his approval for marriage. The actor said that in the film, the character of the Sardar finds himself juggling with conflicting thoughts of permitting his son to marry into a community that he viewed differently due to past experiences.

Chopra stated that in the film he “kept looking at that girl, thinking to myself it it was at all possible to let my son marry someone who represented a community of people who are unlike some of my best friends. We all used to be in the army. I said people who treated Indians like animals were responsible for the death of one of my best friends and did not even give him a respectable funeral. I said, I had made up my mind not to speak this language at all.

However, I told the girl: ‘Considering the surroundings you grew up in and finding you to be a very simple person, I deem you fit for the marriage.’ This is the back story of the film and it became very popular.” Helmed by Fred Holmes, ‘Heartland’, apart from Prem Chopra, also featured Stephan M Singh, Amelia Jackson-Gray and Divya Dutta.

Chopra has worked in more than 400 films during his career and is fondly remembered for some of his iconic negative roles. His unforgettable one-liner “Prem naam hai mera… Prem Chopra” (Prem is my name…Prem Chopra) from the Rishi Kapoor starrer ‘Bobby’ got him overnight stardom as a villain.

In a six-decade-old career in the industry, Prem Chopra acted in several films such as ‘Upkaar’, ‘Purab Aur Pashchim’, ‘Do Raaste’, and ‘Phool Bane Angaarey’, among others. He was recently seen in the action-thriller ‘Animal’, which also starred Ranbir Kapoor, Anil Kapoor, Bobby Deol and Rashmika Mandanna in lead roles.

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