After a couple of low intensity films, Chopra made a grand entry into the main stream with this film, which over time achieved cult status. This star-studded film starring Sunil Dutt, Rajkumar, Sharmila Tagore, Shashi Kapoor, Balraj Sahni and others was the foundation of the legendary Khoya-Paaya formula that dominated the film industry in the 70s. Waqt is the story of a family, separated by a natural disaster, that never really comes together but their destinies are intertwined with each others. With Sahir Ludhianvi’s lyrics embracing the voices of Mohd Rafi and Asha Bhosle, this film is a classical Indian musical drama. Chopra’s films are known to conjure up classics and Ae Meri Zohra Jabeen is just the example of why songs are the backbone of mainstream cinema in India.
Chopra’s collaboration with the writer duo Salim-Javed has produced some legendary work and Deewaar is arguably the best collective outcome. Amitabh Bachchan at his angry-young-man peak wording with perfection lines like Main Aaj Bhi Feke Hue Paise Nahi Uthata and Aaj Khush Toh Bahot Hoge Tum. With scenes that have been re-enacted, referenced, and paid tribute to, Deewaar is a landmark in itself. The fight sequence in the beginning, the brother’s rift in the Mere Paas Maa Hai scene and the climax in the temple have been a part of our imagery ever since.
Chopra’s reputation as the best romantic filmmaker in India can be attributed to the enormous success of Silsila. A complex love story of two lovers whose feelings for each other resurface when they meet after separation. This rosy musical celebrates love and comments on the institution of marriage, morality and desire. With Bollywood’s talked about pair of Amitabh and Rekha romancing to legndary songs by Javed Akhtar and composed by Shivkumar Sharma and Hariprasad Chaurasia as Shiv-Hari. The film ends with a message love is faith and faith is forever. Among its fans, Silsila is unarguably the best romantic film of all time.
Kaala Patthar (1979)
On its face, Kaala Patthar would stick out like a thumb on a hand that counts Chopra’s films. Unlike all the mainstream films that the man produced before and after this one, Kaala Patthar’s premise is much darker, serious and unusual in style. However, star value in the film remains intact with Shatrughan Sinha, Shashi Kapoor, Neetu Singh, Rakhee and others collaborating with Chopra’s muse of sorts – Amitabh Bachchan. Kaala Patthar is a tragedy based on an accident in an underground coal mine, but it transcends the tragedy and focuses on the positive – the heroic resurrection of a man who had given up on himself. Quirky dialogues, well-crafted scenes and a blend of melodrama and subtlety, Kaala Patthar is Chopra’s finest work.
Dil Toh Pagal Hai (1997)
There are two types of people in the world – romantics and hopeless romantics. And these are the only people who like the gooey romantic cinema that is offered by the father of romance in Indian films. Dil Toh Pagal Hai is a story of three youngsters whose quest for love takes them on a complex journey where friendship is tested, misunderstandings and ego clashes erupt and love remains unrequited for. But all of this is put together in a lively manner with Shah Rukh Khan (Yash Raj’s next big muse), Madhuri Dixit and Karisma Kapoor. The chirpy Chopra musical defines Indian cinema of the 90s and also sketches the outline for the future of the mainstream.
Published in DNA After Hrs (Pune) on October 5, 2012