(Birth: 22/04/1914; Death: 05/11/2008)
B. R. Chopra had tremendous attraction about film industry since childhood. When he came to Mumbai, he ran pillar to post in studios and worked as assistant for many renowned senior directors. He was thinking that if he would become producer, automatically he can become the director. But, of course, it was not an easy task to become producer. He got an opportunity to work in Gopal Pictures.
He worked as assistant director for some movies and Mr. Balan of the company had deep trust in him. He handed over the responsibility of direction for his film, ‘Afsana’ and the star cast of the film include Ashok Kumar, Pran, Jeevan and leading music director of the time Husnlal Bhagatram had given music.
Radio Ceylon used to play old Hindi songs program on Sunday between 10 pm to 11 pm named ‘Hamesha Jawaan Geet’ and the program used to start with the song of Afsana by Lata. The song reads, ‘Khushiyo Ke Din Manaaye Ja, Duniya Meri Basaye Ja; Aaja Piya Aaja, Abhi To Mai Jawaan Hu’, the song written by lyricist Gaphil Harnalawi was very famous.
Even as on today the song is so sweet to listen and unforgettable. Husnlal Bhagatram was the music director with melodious songs. All his movies have many songs. Apart from this song of Lata; other songs were also very popular. To name few are: 1) ‘Wah Paas Bhi Rahkar Paas Nahi, Ham Dur Bhi Rah Kar Dur Nahi’ 2) ‘Aaj Kuchh Aisi Chot Lagi Hai, Toot Gaya Paimana Dil Ka’ 3) ‘Kaha Hai Tu Mere Sapano Ke Raja.’ As a director ‘Afsana’ film by B. R. Chopra was very successful.
After Afsana, many eyes turned to B. R. Chopra. He directed movie ‘Sholey’ by Heera films. Ashok Kumar, Beena Roy, Jeevan, Manmohan Krishna had main roles in Sholey and music was given by Dhaniram/ Naresh Bhattacharya. Sholey did not get success as compared to Afsana because the story was loose and music could not be effective.The production of Sholey was also delayed.
He also shouldered the responsibility of next cinema of Heera Films named ‘Chandani Chowk’. Somewhat famous actor of the time Shekhar was hero and Meena Kumari was the heroine of ‘Chandani Chowk’. It was a delicate love story. After failure of Sholey, producers gave responsibility of music to Roshan. Except the song ‘Hame E Dil Kahi Le Chal Bada Tera Karam Hoga’, by Mukesh, there is nothing memorable about Chandani Chowk.
The song, ‘Dil Ki Shikayat Nazar Ke Shikawe, Ek Jubaan Aur Laakh Bayaan’ written by Shailendra and sung by Lata is from Chandani Chowk. Also, the song, ‘Bahak Chale Mere Nainva, Haay Na Jaane Kaisi Chali Hawa’ by Lata is also from Chandani Chowk. This movie was commercially successful.
B. R. Chopra had a dream to start film production but there was no financial support. Five years after directing three films in others’ company, he started B. R. Films banner and declared movie ‘Ek Hi Rasta’. Hero of Afsana and Sholey, Ashok Kumar, was also the hero of Ek Hi Rasta. Sunil Dutt and Meena Kumari had leading roles in it. The song from Ek Hi Rasta, ‘Chali Gori Pee Se Milan Ko Chali, Naina Bawariya, Man Me Saavariya’ sung by Hemant Kumar became very famous. Hemant Kumar had given music to this first creation of B. R. Chopra. The story of Ek Hi Rasta was excellent and direction by B. R. Chopra was also best.
Industrial revolution took place in India after independence. New factories were full with machines and workers faced unemployment. Many industrialists installed new machineries and made retrenchment of workers. Taking this subject, B. R. Chopra produced ‘Naya Daur’. He executed contract with the then youth icon Dilip Kumar as hero and Madhubala as heroine. Father of Madhubala had objection with Dilip Kumar as hero. B. R. Chopra was bound with Dilip Kumar in contract, so he was not ready to replace him. Hence, Vaijayantimala was selected in the place of Madhubala after shooting of four reels. Naya Daur was superhit. Leading music director of that time Naushad gave music to Naya Daur. The songs by Asha, Rafi and Shamshad were tremendous hit. Till the date (1) Saathi Haath Badhaana Saathi Rey (2) Aana Hai To Aa Raah Me Kuchh (3) Reshami Salwar Kurta Jaali Ka (4) Maang Ke Saath Tumhara (5) Ude Jab Jab Julfe Teri are remembered and appreciated. The Punjabi style song ‘Yah Desh Hai Veer Jawaano Ka’ sung by Rafi and Balbeeris still tried in school college functions. Naya Daur accelerated career of B. R. Chopra in right direction. He experienced and realized the obstacles of establishing own production house and the freedom in direction. After serious Ek Hi Rasta, the next Naya Daur was a musical hit. In the first decade of twenty first century, B. R. Chopra made Naya Daur coloured and people appreciated that also.
After Hemant Kumar and O. P. Naiyyar, for the next film ‘Sadhana’ based on women issues, B. R. Chopra made contract with N. Dutta for music. Sunil Dutt, Vaijayantimala had main roles in it. Sunil Dutt was also featured in EK Hi Rasta earlier.
The Mujara song on Kotha performed by heroine, ‘Kaho Ji Tum Kya Kharidoge, Suno Ji Tum Kya Kharidoge’ was famous. The song written by Sahir Ludhiyanvi and sung by Lata, ‘Aurat Ne Janam Diya Mardo Ko, Mardo Ne Usey Bazar Diya’ took the viewers in serious atmosphere. Every song of Sahir was heart touching. Sadhana movie was superhit and also received many awards.
After Sadhana, B. R. Chopra produced ‘Dhool Ka Phool’ which was directed by Yash Chopra. Dhool Ka Phool was musical hit. Yash Chopra successfully and skillfully handled the subject of illegitimate child and unmarried mother in the film.
After Dhool Ka Phool, the next movie ‘Kanoon’ was also hit. ‘Kanoon’ has no songs. Rajendra Kumar, Ashok Kumar, Nanda, Mehmood, Om Prakash, Nana Palshikar were in main roles in it. Kanoon was a suspense movie and B. R. Chopra was completely successful in maintaining the suspense till end. The dialogue, ‘Khoon karo aur bachkar dikhaao’ performed in advocate’s chamber is still remembered.
Yash Chopra was already there in B. R. Films as a director who directed the next film ‘Dharmputra’.
He presented a serious issue of a woman who could not forget her lover even after her marriage in the film ‘Gumrah’. Gumrah means one who has lost the right way. Ashok Kumar marries Nirupa Roy; but suddenly Nirupa dies. Second marriage of Ashok Kumar takes place with her younger sister Mala Sinha who is in love with Sunil Dutt and continues to meet him even after marriage and Ashok Kumar knows this. Shashikala who blackmails Mala Sinha had an effective role with great acting and received many awards for that role. All the songs of Gumrah composed by Ravi were superhit.
After Gumrah, the next movie directed by Yash Chopra was multi starrer ‘Waqt’ which was a musical hit. Then next movie ‘Hamraz’ was presented like Gumrah but with some suspense. A suspense love triangle is there in Hamraz. Debut of heroine Vimmi was proved very famous. But afterHamraz all her movies were flop. From Hamraz, music director Ravi entered in B. R. Films and became favourite music director of B. R. Chopra. In Hamraz Rajkumar, Sunil Dutt, Vimmi were in lead roles. Mahendra Kapoor was singing in B. R. Films since Dhool Ka Phool and all the songs in Hamraz were by Mahendra Kapoor and director was B. R. Chopra.
After Hamraz, B. R. Chopra produced two movies; ‘Aadami Aur Insaan’ and ‘Ittefaq’. Among those, Ittefaq became famous as suspense movie with roles of Rajesh Khanna, Nanda. Till Ittefaq the B. R. Chopra banner was at peak, but after that it began to fall.
B. R. Chopra also directed movies ‘Dastan’ and ‘Dhund’. Dastan was remake of his old movie Afsana but it did not make feel of B. R. Chopra direction.
From Zameer son of B. R. Chopra, Ravi Chopra, came in direction field and tried to make his impression, but Zameer was unsuccessful.
Karm, Pati Patni Aur Wah, Insaf ka Taraju, Nikaah, Awam all the movies were produced under B. R. Films banner and directed by B. R. Chopra.
The Muslim social film Nikaah was superhit. A very unique subject was presented in Nikaah in which Salma Aga was heroine. Insaf ka Taraju became famous due to sensor board dispute. Chhoti si Baat (Basu Chaterjee), Agnipariksha (K. Mujumdar), Aaj ki Awaj, Dahleej (Yash Chopra), Kirayedar (Basu Chaterjee) all these films were made under B. R. Films banner.
From 1951 to 1970 B. R. Films was leading the industry. Chopra had great faith in lyricist Sahir Ludhiyanvi. He changed music directors but lyricist was only Sahir till the end. B. R. Chopra always tried to present every subject in a different style and way.