Long before Vidhu Vinod Chopra made a name for himself in mainstream Bollywood films, he proved his caliber as a filmmaker with experimental and documentary films during his days as a student at the Film And Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune. While his Diploma film ‘Murder at Monkey Hill’ (1976) won an award at the National Film Award, his 1978 documentary ‘An Encounter with Faces’ earned him a nomination at the Oscars. In his career spanning over four decades, Chopra has delivered many memorable films as a writer, director and producer. As he celebrates his 69th birthday today (September 5), let’s take a look at some of his most memorable films as a director.
Based on the backdrop of militancy and terrorism in the Kashmir valley, Mission Kashmir revolved around the life and tragedy of a young boy Altaaf Khan (Hrithik Roshan) whose entire family is killed in crossfire between police and terrorists. He is adopted by the police officer (Sanjay Dutt) responsible for the tragedy. However, when Altaaf finds about the reality, he takes the course of militancy to avenge the death of his family.
1942: A Love Story
Set in the background of India’s freedom struggle movement, the film revolves around the love story between Anil Kapoor and Manisha Koirala. The film was nominated in the best film and best director category at the Filmfare Awards and was declared a super hit at the box office. It was the last movie featuring legendary composer R.D. Burman’s music and was released after the death of the musical maestro.
One of the very first Bollywood films to have attempted to tell the story of Kashmiri Pandit’s exodus from the valley in the 1990s, Shikara was released in the year 2020. While the film did not feature a big star cast, it engaged people with its storytelling. Chopra who grew up in Srinagar dedicated the film to victims of the Kashmiri Pandit exodus
Parinda was Chopra’s first mainstream Bollywood hit. The crime drama film revolved around the life of two orphaned brothers played by Jackie Shroff and Anil Kapoor, and also features Nana Patekar, Madhuri Dixit and Anupam Kher in key roles. Parinda was received with an overwhelming response by the critics and audiences at the box office. The film was nominated for several categories at the 37th National Film Awards and 35th Filmfare Awards
While not many people have heard about Khamosh- one of the first films by Chopra, the film deserves a special mention. Khamosh was a murder myster. The film featured an ensemble cast of talented actors like Shabana Azmi, Amol Palekar, Naseeruddin Shah, Pankaj Kapur, Pavan Malhotra and others. While the film failed to get a big release because no distributor bought it, Khamosh received a lot of critical acclaim for its gripping plot and engaging storytelling. The film was eventually released independently by Chopra at Regal cinema in Colaba where it ran for several weeks.