Today on Chopra’s birth anniversary, dear Millennials, meet the edgy Chopra who flirted with social dramas and thrillers and even helped establish our angry young man, Amitabh Bachchan, via a path-breaking film called Deewar. Bachchan may have earned the tag after Zanjeer but Dewar remains an integral, and celebrated, part of his journey.
On the dream filmmaker’s 85th birth anniversary on Wednesday, we revisit seven of his films that show us he was so much more than the romances that are a part of every Indians growing-up ritual.
Starring Anil Kapoor, Dilip Kumar and Waheeda Rahman, the film focussed on the importance of standing against injustice, freedom of press and the need for morality and the like. It was based on Vasant Kanetkar’s Marathi play, Ashroonchi Zhali Phule. Kapoor bagged his first Filmfare for the film.
Kaala Patthar (1979)
Starring Amitabh Bachchan and Shatrughan Sinha in lead roles, the film talked about labour rights, the privatisation of coal mines and other contemporary social issues. Based on the Chaasnala mining accident that killed more than 370 labourers in Dhanbad (Jharkhand), the film had an average show at the box office but is today considered a landmark film. Raakhee, Parveen Babi and Shashi Kapoor also featured in the film.
Another multi-starrer with Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Sanjeev Kumar and Hema Malini in lead roles, the film was a superhit. A story that talked of premarital sex, children out of wedlock and the class divide, Trishul is a film that weaves family drama with social issues.
The first film to be produced under Yash Chopra banner, after his separation from elder brother BR Chopra, the film was a melodrama about a man with two wives. It was successful at the box office and also grabbed two Filmfare awards - one for Chopra himself and another for Rakhee. An adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge, the film starred Rajesh Khanna, Raakhee and Sharmila Tagore.
The film remains one of the best suspense movies of Bollywood. The story revolves around a painter whose wife is killed and all evidence proves that he is the murderer. It had a mild run at the box office but bagged two Filmfare awards. Rajesh Khanna, Madan Puri and Nanda starred in the film. It is now being remade with Sidharth Malhotra and Sonakshi Sinha.
Aadmi Aur Insaan (1969)
Starring Dharmendra, the film was a hard-hitting social drama that talked of morality and self-righteousness. Saira Banu, Feroz Khan, Mumtaz, Johnny Walker, Ajit, Anwar, Iftekhar, Kamini Kaushal and Nazima also feature in the film.
Arguably, the first multi-starrer of Bollywood, Waqt boasted of actors like Balraj Sahni, Raajkumar, Sunil Dutt, Sharmila Tagore, Shashi Kapoor and Saadhana. It bagged six Filmfare awards and was also declared a hit at the box office, with a lifetime collection of Rs 3 crore. Written by Sahir Ludhianvi, the songs of the film are evergreen hits.
Starring Shashi Kapoor, Mala Sinha, Rehman and Manmohan Krishna, Dharamputra is the story of a Muslim child being adopted by a Hindu family against the backdrop of the struggle for Independence and the pathos of Partition. The child turns out to be a Muslim hater.
Dhool Ka Phool (1959)
Yash Chopra made his directorial debut with a film that hailed communal harmony. After having assisted BR Chopra for Naya Daur, Chopra directed his first film starring Mala Sinha, Ashok Kumar, Rajendra Kumar, Leela Chitnis, Nanda and Jeevan. The film was a box office hit, collecting Rs 1 crore and also bagged a Filmfare award. The famous song ‘Hindu Na Banega Na Musalmaan Banega’ featured in the movie. It talked about a Muslim family adopting a Hindu boy. It also made a statement with Mala Sinha as a single mother who learns to rely only on herself.
Prepared by Shivam Dixit