Fabulous and exotic locations, stunningly beautiful heroines in colourful costumes, melodic songs and unforgettable love stories: it is no accident that Bollywood director Yash Chopra, who died in 2012, was acclaimed as the ‘King of Romance’. Top Bollywood stars including Shahrukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan have appeared in his movies, of which ten were filmed in the Jungfrau Region and on the Jungfraujoch. On Wednesday 4 May 2016, Jungfrau Railways and Interlaken Tourism unveiled the Chopra statue in Interlaken’s Kursaal gardens in honour of the director.
Chopra’s widow Pamela and his daughter-in-law, Bollywood actress Rani Mukerji, travelled from India especially for the ceremony. Rani Mukerji has herself become a celebrity in India as a result of her Bollywood career. The original of the statue stands at Yash Raj Films, the Chopra film studio in Mumbai. A copy has been made for Interlaken thanks to a donation by the Chopra family and support from Jungfrau Railways and Interlaken Tourism. The unveiling ceremony was accompanied by alphorn players and flag throwing. The following traditional Indian Festival of Lights was the highlight for the invited guests from India.
Popularity thanks to Bollywood movies
Yash Chopra is still regarded as one of the greatest figures in the Indian film industry. He directed some of the biggest blockbusters such as Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ) and Darr in the Jungfrau Region and so made a major contribution to the Jungfraujoch and the region becoming popular in India. Today, numerous guests still travel from India to visit film locations such as the Top of Europe and to actually touch snow. Urs Kessler, CEO of Jungfrau Railways says: “The Indian market is extremely important to us, which is why we cultivate it intensively and also actively support the film productions. With our guests from India particularly in mind, in 2014 we totally renovated the Bollywood Restaurant on the Jungfraujoch.” Guests from India also make up a significant proportion of visitors to Interlaken. “The new statue in the Kursaal garden will become a hotspot for Indian tourists” says Tourism director Stefan Otz with confidence.
Ambassador of Interlaken
In 2011 a train of the Jungfrau Railway was christened ‘Yash Chopra’. The film director attended the ceremony in person and at the same time was awarded the title of ‘Ambassador of Interlaken’. A suite in the Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa was also named after him. At the time, Chopra said, “It is an emotional and historic moment. These felicitations are not just for me, but for my industry and, my country, India.” Yash Chopra died in October 2012 at the age of 80.