Vidhu Vinod Chopra ‘The Bohemian’ of Bollywood Industry
At the age of 24, Vidhu Vinod Chopra was honored by the government of India for his short film ‘Murder at the Monkey Hill’ as the Best Short Experimental Film, thus kick-starting his exquisite journey in Bollywood. Being a man of firm visibility and strong stands he has locked horns with too many in the Industry and so he is not liked by many in the industry. Whatever may it be his contribution to the industry is priceless which includes the bollywood’s finest film makers: Rajkumar Santoshi was his assistant on his first feature film Sazaye Maut (1981), Sudhir Mishra was his assistant on Khamosh (1985), and Sanjay Leela Bhansali worked with him on Parinda (1989) and 1942: A Love Story (1993) over eight long years, he is the mentor of Rajkumar Hirani and Pradeep Sarkar . Inspite of his maverick image he outshines in Bollywood as dedicated filmmaker who breathes cinema not ego.
In the past fourteen years after Mission Kashmir, he has co-written and produced Munnabhai MBBS, Parineeta, Lage Raho Munnabhai, three idots and Ferrari Ki Sawaari which bagged attention all over the country. He spawned two fine directors, Rajkumar Hirani and Pradeep Sarkar. He gave a new gifted artist and other talents to the industry like actress Vidhya Blan, writer Abhijat Joshi, music director Shantanu Moitra and lyricist Swanand Kirkire. If the Chopras are Bollywood’s gloss factory then Vinod Chopra Productions is a stock pile of classy and diversified passion. “He is an amazing inspirer of a team, treats technicians like stars and is probably one of the fairest people when it comes to financial dealings”, this is one of the comments given by Sudhir Mishra when asked about his guru Vidhu Vinod Chopra.
Coming to his renowned assistants, opening Pandora’s Box to the audience, Rajkumar Hirani is known for his unique scripts throwing light on different issues faced by Indian society. Munna Bhai MBBS (2003), Lage Raho Munnabhai (2006) and 3 Idiots (2009) are his major contributions which succeeded in leaving a question in the minds of the viewers. Aamir, Hirani and Chopra have teamed up again for the PK after 3 idiots which is schedule to release on December, 2014. This is the ninth movie of Hirani so is with Vidhu Vinod Chopra.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali, director, producer, screenwriter, and music director started of his career with the guidance of Chopra who is one among the renowned filmmakers in the industry. In 1999 he founded the film production house SLB Films. Khamoshi, Hum Dil Chuke Sanam, Black, Devdas, Ram leela, Saawaria, Guzaarish, Mary Kom are the major works of him. His films are majorly known for delicate and magnificent sets and also strong female protagonists. Currently he is working on his movie Baijaro Mastani starring Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, and Priyanka Chopra as director, producer, screenwriter, and music director. This is his third music project after Guzaarish and Ram Leela. Both Sanjay and Hirani are products of Film and Telivision Institute of India (FTII) like Chopra.
Assisting Chopra in Khamosh, Sudhir Mishra is now an acclaimed director and writer. Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, Dharavi and Chameli are his outstanding works. With an experience of 30 years in the field, his works were recognised by the Government of India by him receiving three National Awards from the President of India, as well as ‘Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres’ by the French Government (equivalent to knighthood). He is one of the pioneers of the alternative independent cinema movement in the 1980s and he is among the few directors from that era who has still managed to remain contemporary.
Being a writer as well as a director, Pradeep Sarkar began his career with Vinod Chopra Productions. In 2005, Sarkar made his directorial debut with his first film Parineeta which earned him the national film award for best Director. Parineeta was a critical and commercial success at box office as well. Egalavya, Laaga Chunari Mein Daag, Lafangey Parindey are his movies. Mardaani is his latest release with Rani Mukharjee as the lead role.
When talking about his colleagues at FTII, Kundan Shah went on to make some memorable television and cinema (Nukkad and Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa), Saaed Mirza has made some of the best independent films in India (from Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai to Naseem) and Mishra made the moving Hazaaron Khwahishen Aisi in 2005.
After spending his childhood in Srinagar’s Wazir Bagh, he became a graduate of film direction from Pune’s FTII. His 1978 documentary, ‘An Encounter with Faces’, was nominated for an Oscar, and his subsequent movies, ‘Sazaye Maut and Khamosh’, gave a huge recognition to the aspiring filmmaker. ‘Parinda’, a mafia film, considered as a turning point for reality in Hindi films established him as a cult classicist.
The movie was followed by ‘1942: A Love Story and Mission Kashmir’, two technically accomplished movies which showed he could do poetic romance as well as complex action scenes. These movies were remarkable hits not just for the plot but the movie as a whole. After a seven year long break from direction, his comeback with the movie Ekalavya was appreciated all over. His powerful visual ability and strong command over violence was explicitly shown in the movie.
His appearance as an actor narrowed down to Dushasana in Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron (1983), and again as a corpse in Parinda. Amongst his contemporaries Vidhu Vinod Chopra is probably the most successful filmmaker.
Meanwhile, he is the producer and writer of the new movie ‘Do’, starring Big B, Amitabh Bachchan and the multi-talented Farhan Akhtar directed by Bejoy Nambiar.
Vidhu Vinod Chopra, an extrinsic man with an exceptional range of view, dedication and passion stands out for his strong independent character.