45 Years: The Unalloyed Talent Of Vidhu Vinod Chopra
MUMBAI (IANS) – Filmmaker-producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra, who is best known for films such as ‘Parinda’, ‘Khamosh’, ‘1942: A Love Story’, ‘Mission Kashmir’ and for bankrolling the ‘Munna Bhai’ franchise, has completed 45 years in cinema.
The filmmaker is gearing up for his upcoming release ‘12th Fail‘ and his work is being celebrated across the country with a festival of his most memorable films.
As he completes 45 years in cinema and turns a new leaf, here are some interesting facts about Chopra.
Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s parents came from Peshawar, now in Pakistan, but he was born in Srinagar, where he did his schooling mainly in Hindi and Urdu. Memories of his homeland come through in his films ‘Mission Kashmir’ and ‘Shikara’.
He got selected to the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, where his diploma film titled ‘Murder at Monkey Hill’ bagged the National Film Award for Best Experimental Film.
His next film, a Films Division documentary titled ‘An Encounter with Faces’ (1978), which was about a group of children at an orphanage, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Film.
Vidhu Vinod Chopra then worked as a production controller on Kundan Shah’s iconic 1983 film ‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro’ starring Naseeruddin Shah, Ravi Baswani, Satish Shah, Om Puri and Satish Kaushik. Chopra ran the show for the production team along with Sudhir Mishra, who’s now better known as another accomplished director.
As he was the production controller, cutting costs was a huge part of his responsibility. Chopra maintained the film’s budget as he stepped into a role to save Rs 2,000 (a princely sum in the 1980s!) because the actor was demanding Rs 2,000 for it.
Being a hard negotiator, Chopra offered the actor Rs 100, which met with an immediate rejection. Following this, Chopra decided to step into the role to keep the film and its budget on track.
‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro’, a black comedy, has amassed a cult following over the years and is a hot favourite of cinephiles.
For his film ‘Khamosh’, the director faced a great struggle. After making the film on a shoestring budget, Chopra wasn’t getting distributors.
Then, as Chopra told filmmaker Anurag Kashyap during the MAMI Film Festival in Mumbai, one fine day, he received a bouquet from distributors Gulshan Rai and his son Rajiv Rai.
Receiving a bouquet in those days meant that the distributor has agreed to buy your film and would run it in his circuit, but nothing of that sort happened because Rajeev liked the film, but his father Gulshan wasn’t ready to buy it.
Chopra then took a huge risk and hired Regal cinema in Mumbai at 50 per cent and released ‘Khamosh’ by himself. Although he had a booking of two weeks, the film ran for six weeks.
He even shared that the idea for his cult film ‘Parinda’, which stars Anil Kapoor and Jackie Shroff, came to him during the very taxing period of ‘Khamosh’. The spec for the script of ‘Parinda’, as Chopra recalled, was, “2 bhai hain, ek bhookha hai, ro raha hai, aur bada bhai bolta hai ‘Tu rota kyun hai main hoon na idhar’.”
This was the first dialogue of ‘Parinda’, which was a metaphor for the highly successful commercial cinema and the impoverished arthouse cinema. And Chopra was successfully able to bridge the divide.