I was really saddened yesterday when I learned BR Chopra passed away, he was a revolutionary director who founded his own production company BR Films, he also entered a partnership with his brother Yash Chopra, producing his earlier movies such as Aadmi aur Insaan, Dharmputra, Waqt and many more. I'll list some of my favorites of his movies that I've watched
- Afsana: A great entertainer with Ashok Kumar playing twins the good and evil one,
this was BR's first big budget movie, and he had to do a lot of persuading for Ashok to do the role. He infused some gray shades to the bad twin as he feels remorse for hurting his good brother and repents after. A conscientious movie with some masala entertainment
- Gumrah: A great and sensual movie about adultey, the very backwass Bewafaa with Kareena Kapoor was a remake of this, it was crap but Gumrah was great. The Chopra's are skilled and innovative in talking about taboos, this was one of the major movies talking about adultery, with Sunil Dutt playing the affair guy, and Mala Sinha as the conflicted wife married to an older man.
- Hamraaz: A brilliant noir thriller with BR's fsvorite stars Sunil Dutt and Raaj Kumar, pitted against each other as romantic rivals involved in a murder mystery, also starring the very bland Vimmi, BR did like to welcome newcomers in his movies, and Vimmi was one starlet that he introduced. He has the penchant for style and this was a stylish 60's movie, with funky houses and gorgeous location and fashion.
- Naya Daur: One of the greatest movies ever, capturing the rustic and the urban as they collide in this social film with Vjayantimala and Dilip Kumar, this movie was recently coloured and it made it a little over the top like the new Mughal-E-Azam, nevertheless it enhanced its appeal to newer viewers when it was re-released. BR always must of have had great persuasive skills, as Dilip thought he was to different to play a rustic villager character in the movie, but the rest is history as he agreed!
- Nikaah: Another movie where BR introduced a terrible heroine is when he intro'd Salma Agha who reportedly got the role after her distant "uncle" Raj Kapoor persuaded BR to take her on. My mum likened her to a "dead fish" not the greatest insult, but she lacked charisma and had a very expressionless face. But BR did something innovative by tackling the Muslim social movie, and he talks about sex and divorce in this movie in a open and frank way, which got the ire of the Muslim community. It was a well made film, nuanced with BR traits --> the massive house, the realistic presentation of love, and the taboo breaking theme.
- Insaaf Ka Tarazu: This was a huuuge movie for breaking taboo, it talked about rape and sex. Zeenat Aman was the murderess and its a great movie for breaking out the issues that concerned women, and though I look it now as a bit OTT, it does raise an issue, and I think that is what BR wanted in any of his movies, to spark some sort of dialogue and debate.
- Ek Hi Raasta: Another feminine movie, where Ashok marries the weeping widow Meena Kumari to stop the gossips and nasty neighbours trying to kick her out. This was another issue raising movie, about widow remarriage and more importantly about how kids deal with step-father and family, Daisy Irani was a brattish child in this movie, and she featured as a kid in many BR movies. This was also the movie that catapulted Sunil Dutt into the big league of Bollywood with a sensitive and sweet performance as Meena's first hubby!