The Romantics director Smriti Mundhra reveals what convinced the reclusive Aditya Chopra to speak on camera

The new Netflix documentary The Romantics traces the journey of Yash Raj Films, including the careers of Yash Chopra and Aditya Chopra. What makes the four-part docu series special is that it includes the first-ever on camera interview of director-producer Aditya Chopra. The reclusive filmmaker has not given any interview – print or video – in any form since his first film in 1995. So to get him on camera for a four-part series was a coup indeed. The Romantics’ director Smriti Mundhra explains to DNA in an exclusive chat how she managed this seemingly-impossible task.

Mundhra says she approached Chopra step-by-step, first getting him to speak off camera and then graduating from there. “It took a long time to convince him. The process was a slow one. When I started this project, I was speking to him on background to get the context on the story and to make sure I was talking to the right people and that I understood all of the contours of the story. Then, I tried to convince him that while my crew and I were in Mumbai, we’ll film an interview for his personal archive. Of course, I had an ulterior motive in a way. He agreed to that,” she recalls.

It was when the post-production began that Mundhra began to use Aditya Chopra’s interview bits in the series but without telling him in advance. She explains, “When we were editing the series, I started quietly editing him into the series with hopes that when I showed it to him eventually, he’d agree. It was a risk because a lot of work went into editing and if he had said no, I’d have to re-edit the whole series. The hope was that when he saw how vital his contribution was to this story, he would agree to it.”


Eventually, after she showed the Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge director the series, he surprisingly agreed to have his interview remain in the show. Mundhra explains what convinced him, “I think there’s two reasons he finally said yes. One is that anyone who has worked in any capacity with Aditya Chopra would tell you that he has utmost fidelity to the creative integrity of any project. He is not going to compromise any project’s creative integrity. So, when he saw, just from a creative point of view, how important it was for him to be a part of this and how empty the series would feel without his perspective, that definitely helped.”

The other, more important reason, the filmmaker believes, was that Chopra felt his absence may feel odd given the entire Hindi film industry was involved here. “If I can speculate, the thing that really made the most difference is recognising that we worked so hard to create this tribute to his father where so many people from their hearst about his legacy. Then for one person who is his son and colleague to not participate be very odd. I think it was out of that love and respect for his father that he finally agreed,” she says.

Many have noted that for a camera shy person, Aditya Chopra was remarkably candid on camera. Mundhra says she was surprised by that too. “It’s fair to assume that if somebody keeps himself so deliberately hidden and so private, there is maybe some camera shyness. But he was incredible. Maybe because when we were filming, he hdn’t really committed to being broadcast to the world. He was very comfortable,” she says.

The Romantics began streaming on Netflix on Valentine’s Day, February 14.

Originally published at

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