The movies of legendary filmmaker B.R. Chopra have never failed to impinge on my soul and imagination. I can safely assume that other viewers, who have watched his movies, would have felt the same way. His movies exercised a magnetic pull on viewers. He was a master filmmaker, who was very well aware of the art of movie-making. He belonged to the journalistic fraternity and therefore his movies too turned into a medium for awakening the hearts and minds of people. He believed in having unique approach to solve the socio-economic problems. Probably, this is why his movies echoed a call for change. He dared to make movies on issues considered untouchable by the movie makers of that period. When he made “ Dhool Ka Phool” ,it took the movie world by storm. It dealt with the woman, who dared to give birth to baby, who was not born out of wedlock .Similarly, “Aurat” revolved around women trapped in sex-racket.
B.R. Chopra entered the hall of fame when he made Naya Daur (1957). This movie was an interesting account of machine’s interventions in the human life. It was successful in conveying the message that progress should not take place at the interests of ordinary citizens. Interestingly, many of the noted film makers of that period downrightly rejected the script. It was BR Chopra who decided to bring the story of Tangewala on the silver screen. No need to state that Naya Daur set new milestones.
He dealt with the problems of women in a refined way, making it very clear that women should remain in close league with ancient values. Gumrah brought in open traumatic situation of women, who cannot resist the charm of entering in extra-marital relationships. The movie became a source of inspiration for other movie-makers.B.R. Chopra had the uncanny ability to project serious themes in a viewer-friendly manner. It’s no joke that he was able to highlight the dangers of maintaining illicit relationships in such a gripping manner. In Nikaah we find that he brought in open, the pains of Muslim women trapped in archaic Muslim laws. Nikaah also beautifully captured the cruelty of husbands, who treat wives no better than “paav ki jooti” .
I feel that movie makers like B.R. Chopra are ahead of their time .You have to watch “Insaaf Ka Tarazu” to become aware of the fact that BR Chopra had the guts to deal with issues considered taboo in times marred by dubious moralistic concerns. The film which revolved around the plight of rape victim was successful in highlighting the flaws in our legal system. Being not satisfied with the world of movies, he decided to enter in the television world. The viewers were left spellbound when they came to anticipate India’s one of the earliest epic serials “ Mahabharat” ,Today when technological incarnations rule the roost , the serial makers still find it very difficult to achieve the level of perfection gained by Chopra .It’s there for everyone to see that what happens when likes of Ekta Kapoor decide to make Mahabharat !!!B.R. Chopra’s Mahabharat achieved tremendous popularity, to an extent that nearly all the artists who acted in the serial are known by the characters they played in the serial!!!Even today Mukesh Khanna has “ Ayushmaan Bhava “ on his lips as people keep on addressing him as “Bhishma Pitamah ” whenever they sight him in public .
Now, let’s try to understand what made his movies gain huge popularity despite encircling serious issues. I think B.R. Chopra and his team worked round-the-clock to gain total perfection. But the other factor, which worked wonder for him was that he enjoyed the company of some very talented souls like Sahir and Ravi ,to name a few .Who can forget everlasting melodious numbers from his movies? Sahir’s revolutionary songs helped BR Chopra to expand the impact of his scripts. Interestingly, barely a day before his death I came to quote Sahir’s couplets in one of my writings. These verses have been given form of song in B.R. Chopra’s Gumrah (1963):
Chalo Ek Baar Phir Se Ajnabi Ban Jaye Hum Dono !!
Na Main Tumse Koi Umeed Rakhoen Dilnawazi Ki
Na Tum Meri Taraf Dekho Galat Andaz Nazaro Se
Na Meri Del Ki Dhadkan Ladkhadaye Meri Baato Mein
Na Zahir Ho Tumhari Kashmakash Ka Raj Nazaro Se
Tarroef Rog Ho Jaye To Uskoe Bholana Behtar
Talook Bogh Ban Jaye To Usko Todna Achha
Wo Afsana Jise Anjaam Tak Lana Na Ho Mumkin
Usein Ek Khoobsurat Mode Dekar Chodana Achha
Chalo Ek Bar Phir Se Ajnabi Ban Jaye Hum Dono!!
In Dhool Ka Phool we find Sahir stating that “ Tu Hindu Banega Na Musalman Banega , Insan Ki Aulad Hai Insan Banega” . In fact, most of his movies including Waqt, Humraz(1967), and Gumrah(1963), to name a few, had soul-stirring numbers. Surprisingly, he was bold enough to make a movie named “ Kanoon “ that had no songs , when songs and dance sequences were considered imperative elements for the success of movies. Let me say that though he has moved to different world , his movies would always make B.R. Chopra’s presence felt for a very-2 long time .This line from song that featured in Dhund says all : “ Sansar Ki Har Shah Ka Bas Itna Hi Fasana Hai , Ek Dhund Se Aana Hai Ek Dhund Mein Jana Hai ”