Yash Chopra was honoured with the “Punjab Rattan Award”
by the Chief Minister of Punjab Capt. Amarinder Singh on 20 June 2006. Known for making some of the most successful Indian movies and someone who also has a little bit of Punjab in every script, Yash Chopra was conferred with this award as recognition from a state he grew up in.
Presiding over the first ever Punjab Rattan Award conferring ceremony held at Hotel Taj, Capt. Singh said that Yash Chopra was one of the most charismatic and powerful directors in the Indian film industry, who has made excellent films depicting the human values and culture of Indian society in general and Punjabi in particular.
Capt. Singh appreciated Mr. Chopra for his legendary creation "Veer-Zaara" for instrumental in fostering friendship, mutual trust and understanding amongst the people of Indian Punjab and Pakistan Punjab. He said that Mr. Chopra's outstanding contribution towards the promotion of Punjab, Punjabi and Punjabiat would be ever cherished by one and all.
Speaking to media persons, Yash Chopra said, “I really feel on top of the world right now. This is the highest honour I could ever ask for and since this has been conferred by my land – Punjab – I feel all the more great.”
On the occasion, Cultural Affairs Minister Partap Singh Bajwa read the citation and described Mr. Yash Chopra as the “Living Legend of Indian Film Industry” who strode like a colossus on the cinematic scene. Endowed with a rare vision, he has defined our national psyche by projecting the deepest desires and aspirations of our people through his films. Gifted with pure creative imagination, he has given us 35 memorable films which have won six National Awards, nine Filmfare Awards including Best Director Award four times. It is a matter of great pride for the Government of Punjab, its people to confer the "Punjab Rattan Award" today upon this great son of the soil and prays that his creative genius keeps on flourishing forever.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Yash Chopra said that he was really indebted to the Punjab Government for bestowing this great honour on him being a humble son of the soil of Punjab. He commended Capt. Singh for his benevolent gesture for the exemption of entertainment tax on Veer-Zaara.
Felicitating the great gesture of Capt. Singh, Mr. Chopra said that only a King could do like this even without a formal request from our side. On contrary he had to run from pillar to post for tax exemption in other states. "I have no words to express my sentiments for the love and affection shown by Capt. Singh for Veer-Zaara. Capt. Singh even took the DVDs of Veer Zaara to present them to President, Prime Minister of Pakistan and Chief Minister of west Punjab" said Mr. Chopra.
On the occasion noted lyrist Javed Akhtar and renowned actor Anupam Kher also spoke. Javed Akhtar also expressed his views about the award conferred on Mr. Chopra. “Mr. Yash Chopra has never strived for fame or success, instead success has always been a part of his career,” he said. Anupam Kher reiterated that as a young boy his ambition was always to be “Yash Chopra” when he grew up, and said that he was overwhelmed to be a part of his felicitation.
A 28 minutes film on the life-time achievements of Mr. Yash Chopra was also screened. Sufi Kalam of Wadali Brothers also regaled the audience on the occasion. Senior Ministers, MLAs and eminent people from all walks of life also attended the ceremony.
From the streets of Jalandhar to the silver screens of Indian film industry, it has been a meteoric rise for Mr. Yash Chopra. And this State award just re-affirms the genius of this man.