Prem Chopra is a veteran actor who worked mostly in Hindi and Punjabi movies and to date, he has done more than 350 movies in a career spanning half a century. Prem Chopra born on 23 September 1935, in Lahore was the third of six children of Ranbir Lal and Rooprani Chopra, a Punjabi Hindu family. His family moved to Shimla after the partition where most of his childhood was spent. He completed his schooling and college also from Shimla, his father wanted him to be an IAS officer or a doctor but destiny had bigger plans for Prem Chopra. He was always interested in acting and took part in plays at his college.
He went to Bombay (Now Mumbai) to chase his dream of being an actor despite facing opposition from his parents. During his struggling days, he stayed as paying guest in the Colaba area of Bombay. He began going to various film studios with his portfolio but mostly received negative reactions. He started doing a job in The Times of India to sustain himself in Bombay which was a costly city even back then. He was multitasking at that time by doing his regular job at The Times of India and auditioning for movies. He got his first acting assignment in a Punjabi movie titled Chaudhary Karnail Singh, it was a Hindu-Muslim love story during partition. The movie was a big hit thought it took three years to complete the movie but the wait was worth it as along with being a successful movie, it won two National Awards for Best Actress and Best Movie.
After that, he started getting acting offers and during that period he did a Punjabi movie Sapani, and Bollywood movies including Woh Kaun Thi?, Shaheed, Main Shaadi Karne Chala, and Teesri Manzil. The most notable movie among these was Manoj Kumar’s Shaheed which was based on the story of great Indian freedom fighter Shaheed Bhagat Singh where he had a positive role. He played the role of martyr Sukhdev.
His acting career started on a good note and he left his job to devote all his time to movies. He acted in several hit movies like Nishan, Sikandar E Azam Sagaai, Mera Saaya, Teesri Manzil, and Upkaar where he had a positive role. He was flooded with movie offers mostly as villains and he signed many movies. In 1971 he did a movie Hulchul where he was in the lead. He again played the main lead in the 1970 box office hit small budget comedy film Samaj Ko Badal Dalo. But after that, he mostly did movies where he was the villain and he along with Ajit, Madan Puri, Pran, Prem Nath, Jeevan, Ranjit, Amrish Puri, and Amjad Khan were famous villains from the 60s to late 80s.
His dialogue ‘Prem naam hain mera, Prem Chopra’ from the movie Bobby is one of the most famous lines in Bollywood history. On his personal, he is married to Uma Chopra. Their daughter Prerna is the wife of famous actor Sharman Joshi known for movies like Style, Rang De Basanti, Golmaal: Fun Unlimited, and 3 Idiots. He is a recipient of many awards such as the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award, Indira Gandhi Priyadarshani Award, Lions Club Award, Ashoka Award, Ashirwad Award, and Punjab Kala Sangam Award. His daughter Rakita Chopra authored his biography, “Prem Naam Hain Mera, Prem Chopra’.