BR Chopra passed away on 5th November, 2008.
Baldev Raj Chopra, better known as BR Chopra died today, at the age of 94 years. Born on April 22nd, 1914, BR Chopra started his career as film journalist, and then in 1955, created his own production house BR films.
His first under own production was Naya Daur in 1957. Dilip Kumar and Vaijayantimala did extremely well in the film. The music of OP Nayyar and songs of Rafi and Asha like “ure jab jab zulfen teri”, “maang ke saath tumhara”, “saathi haath barana” mesmerized the viewers and the film became super hit.
In early 60s he experimented with non-musical black & white film titled Kanoon. His message was related to abolition of death sentence in India. Ashok Kumar and Rajender Kumar acted extremely well in the film and BR Chopra’s effort was well appreciated by the audience. The case that was shown in the film was supposed to be proved by circumstantial evidence and whatever had been seen by people and heard by the witnesses most of them were misleading. At the end it was shown that another person who had identical looks like that of Ashok Kumar was the actual murderer. BR Chopra received best director award for the film Kanoon.
In the 60s, BR Chopra created a combination with composer Ravi and singer Mahendra Kapoor and all the romantic films did well under the combination. The film Gumrah had good music with Mahendra Kapoor’s song “chalo ek baar phir se” becoming big hit. In 1965, BR Chopra gave birth to multi-starrer films like Waqt.
He showed the courage of engaging a number of stars like Balraj Sahani, Raj Kumar, Sunil Dutt, Shashi Kapoor in the same film. The story was also unique with all the sons and wife and Balraj Sahani getting separated in an earthquake and getting re-united at the end of the film. Ravi’s music was exceptional with hit songs of Rafi like “waqt ke din aur raat”, Asha’s song “age bhi jane na koi” becoming everlasting hit.
The same team again gave another blockbuster titled Humraaz with Raj Kumar and Sunil Dutt giving lifetime performances. Ravi’s music was exceptional again and Mahendra Kapoor’song “neele gagan ke tale” becoming super hit. After getting response with his film Ittefaq, BR Chopra made a successful film Aadmi Aur Insaan with Dharmender and Firoz Khan. Dharmender was shown to be an engineer who was paid by Firoz Khan for building dams and other projects. But when their affair with Saira Banu created misunderstanding, the friendship broke. The film had good music and did good business.
BR Chopra again took up a great project with the film Burning Train in 1980, where he engaged almost the entire bollywood industry including actors like Vinod Khanna, Dharmender, Jeetender, actresses including Neetu Singh, Hema Malini, Parveen Babi, and many other performers. The film was related to a superfast train in the model of Rajdhani Express which caught fire and it was shown how the passengers were rescued at that time. RD Burman composed impressive songs in the film including the qawalli “pal do pal ka” sung by Rafi and Asha.
Even Dilip Kumar’s film Masdoor in the mid-80s and the film Nikaah did good business. In the late 80s, BR Chopra created the greatest epic shown in TV Channels titled Mahabharata. It continued for more than a year and is still considered as one of the most popular TV programs created in the history of television.
BR Chopra’s brother Yash Chopra also served bollywood films for more than 30 years and established himself as producer director. BR Chopra received Dada Saheb Falke award in 1998 and also received Filmfare lifetime achievement award in 2003.
It is not possible to highlight the great works of the legendary producer director in a small article as he had created a legacy for over 50 years. The films should be preserved and new directors and producers can learn a lot from the legendary filmmaker.