Iconic History of B R Films and Chopra Brothers
In the late 1950s, Indian cinema witnessed an era of trendsetting and socially significant films such as Ek Hi Raasta and Naya Daur made by the legendary filmmaker Baldev Raj Chopra. Soon after he established his production house named BR Films, he started experimenting with ideas and produced films that he believed in. B R Chopra was one of those responsible filmmakers who made movies not just for monetary benefits but also for questioning the old social norms in the society. Have a look at some of the path breaking concepts executed under B R Films:
Ek Hi Raasta: Released in 1956 i.e. nine years after independence, this film challenged the old Indian traditions and touched the sensitive topic of widow-remarriage.
Naya Daur: This film portrayed the impact of changes that modern technology has brought into our lives. It was a powerful encounter dealing with the conflict between the man and the machine.
Sadhna: This was a noteworthy film in the sense that it dealt with the burning issue of rehabilitation of Prostitutes in the society. Three decades after this film release, B R Chopra revisited this subject and made another film named Tawaif in 1985.
Dhool Ka Phool: It was the debut film of Yash Chopra produced under B R Films that was based around the status of illegitimate child and religious differences in the society.
Kanoon: This film was ahead of its time which pointed towards the flaws of law and justice in our country. It was a song less courtroom drama entirely different from earlier Hindi films.
Waqt: This 1965 cult classic was one of the first multi-starrer Hindi feature films. It depicted the power of time and introduced the new formula of ‘Lost and Found’ in Indian storytelling.
Ittefaq: It was another offbeat crime thriller featuring not even a single song in the film. Also, it presented Rajesh Khanna in one of the most difficult role that was completely in contrast with his lover-boy persona.
Pati Patni Aur Woh: This was an entertaining family drama that explored the temptations behind an extramarital relationship. Stressing the importance of family, this film gave a serious social message that was well received by its audience.
Insaaf Ka Tarazu: Again, this was one of the most fearless attempts by B R Films that showcased the life of a rape victim and questioned the punishment given to the rape accused. It uncovered the loopholes existent in the law and order of our judiciary at that particular time.
Nikaah: This was one of the controversial B R Films that questioned the customary system of divorce in Islam. Soon after its release in 1982, the film had to face nationwide protest owing to its bold social theme.
After producing these revolutionary films, B. R. Chopra forayed into the television field with his immensely successful “Mahabharat” that is till date considered to be the most sensational epic series. B R Chopra was a true visionary who not only gave us unforgettable films but a cinematic gem in the form of his younger brother, Yash Chopra. He sensed his filmmaking capabilities and gave him his first break in 1959 with a film titled Dhool Ka Phool. It was truly an illustrious debut for Yash Chopra who later on became one of the greatest filmmakers, Hindi cinema has ever seen.
Dhool Ka Phool was an unconventional film that dealt with the social stigma of an unwed motherhood and illegitimacy. It’s a story about an abandoned boy, communal problems and social discrimination. Besides being Yash Chopra’s debut film, this poignant drama stands remarkable for many other reasons.
Starring Rajendra Kumar, Mala Sinha and Ashok Kumar, Dhool Ka Phool was nominated for four Filmfare awards namely, Best Story, Best Lyrics, Best Actress for Mala Sinha and Best supporting role for Manmohan Krishna who played the role of Abdul chacha in the film. One of the famous songs “Tu Hindu Banega Na Musalman Banega, Insaan ki Aulad Hai, Insaan Banega” was filmed on this old Muslim character Abdul who brings up the illegitimate boy asserting him to be secular.
Again in his next film Dharamputra, Yash Chopra retouched the communal issues that were strongly prevalent in the post-independent India. Later also, he kept challenging himself with innovative and controversial subjects surrounding human lives. He explored the nuances of society and common man so beautifully that over a period of time he excelled in portraying every human emotion. Eventually, he moved on from socially impactful stories to more feel-good kind of cinema.
Together, the Chopra brothers worked on to create cinema that was not only entertaining but also thought-provoking. However, by 1970, Yash Chopra felt the need to carve his independent path and moved out of B R Films. Thereafter, B R Chopra continued to make his socially relevant cinema while Yash Chopra redefined the tender human emotion called love and made some classical romantic hits.
In the year 1973, Yash Chopra launched his own banner named Yash Raj Films and Daag was one of the first love stories that came out of his production house. Featuring Rajesh Khanna, Sharmila Tagore and Raakhee, it became a major musical hit of his career. He never looked back after that and went on to produce various blockbusters dealing with intense themes. He kept exploring new subjects and deep human psyche, which clearly reflected in the choice of his concepts.
He ventured into various genres with films like Deewar, Kala Pathar, Trishul and Mashaal but eventually realized his forte and went on to tell stories that were more close to his heart. Via his love sagas such as Kabhi Kabhie, Silsila, Chandni, Lamhe, Darr, Dil to Pagal Hai, Veer- Zaara including the last film of his career Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Yash Chopra gave a new meaning to romance on the silver screen.
Popularly known as the “King of Romance”, Yash Chopra directed around 22 films and all of them are considered to be absolute classics. With his inherent flair for storytelling, he was always able to extract compelling performances from all his actors. Through his fascinating portrayal of romance and larger-than-life love stories, Yash Chopra created a “Love Phenomenon” that will be always cherished by generations to come.