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About Founder Members
Please click on the below given names to see more information of that particular founder member :
V Shantaram Raj Kapoor Sashadhar Mukharjee
Sohrab Modi Homi Wadia Mehboob Khan
A R Kardar Vijay Bhatt Dev Anand
Bimal Roy S. S. Vasan B. N. Sircar
Mohan Segal A. V. Meiyappan Dr. B. R. Chopra
V Shantaram

V Shantaram began his professional life in his teens with the legendary singer and actor, Bal Ghandarva'stheatre company as a gofer and odd job boy. Within a couple of years he found employment at a local cinema and shortly after he became an assistant to the photographer, Baburao Painter. He would act in 15 films over the next nine years, playing roles ranging from impoverished peasants and opulent princes to gods of the Hindu pantheon. In 1929, he directed his first film, Netaji Palkar.

At the age of 28, already a veteran actor and director, he started the Prabhat Film Studio with three of his colleagues, Fattelal, Damle, and Keshavrao Dhaiber. For the next 13 years Prabhat Studios would produce some of the most trail blazing and memorable films of Indian cinema, a large number of them directed by Shantaram.

In 1942, Shantaram broke away from Prabhat to start his own film studio, the Rajkamal Kalamandir in Bombay. Some of the memorable films he directed at Rajkamal were Dr. Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani, Do Aankhen Bara Haath and Lok Shahir Ramjoshi. Prolific as he was as a producer and director of cinema features, Shantaram helped to set up a Film Advisory Board for the Government of India as its Chief Producer during the war.

When Shantaram passed away in 1990 the Indian film business as an established industry was 77 years old. He was part of it for 73 of those years. His first 15 films were made during the silent era. His last film was made when digital technology had made its entry into the cinema. If Indian cinema could be given human form, it could well look like Shantaram.

V Shantaram
 
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Raj Kapoor


Raj Kapoor

Raj Kapoor began his career as a clapper boy assisting Kidar Sharma. At age eleven, he appeared in films for the first time, in the 1935 film Inquilab. Raj Kapoor's big break, however, came when he played the hero's role in Neel Kamal by Kidar Sharma. In 1948, , at the age of twenty-four, he established his own studio, R. K. Films, and became the youngest film director of his time. His first movie as a director Aag (Fire) (1948) was an immediate success.

Raj Kapoor's career as director spanned the years from 1948 through 1988. He directed many films that are still remembered and loved, from Barsaat (1949) to Awaara (1951), Shri 420 (1955), and Sangam (1964). He starred in a number of the films he directed, often with actress Nargis.

Raj Kapoor whole-heartedly embraced the Indian popular cinema from the very beginning. He made every effort to ensure that his movies appealed to every section of society, in particular the mythical 'common man'. The songs of his films endeared Raj Kapoor not only to the masses in India, but to audiences in large parts of Africa, the Middle East, and the former Soviet Union, where his films were to become enormous commercial successes. Many of his films were to be characterized not only by lively music, but by the extensive use of elaborate sets.

After the box office failure of his ambitious 1970 film, Mera Naam Joker , which took more than six years to complete, his movies took a youthful twang. The film Bobby introduced Dimple Kapadia, and was the first of a new generation of teen romances. His subsequent films like Satyam Shivam Sundaram and Ram Teri Ganga Maili were blockbusters.

Raj Kapoor suffered from asthma in his later years; he died of complications related to asthma in 1988 at sixty-three years of age.At the time of his death he was working on the movie Heena (an Indo-Pakistani love story). The film was later completed by his son Randhir Kapoor.

 
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Sashadhar Mukherjee


Sashadhar Mukherjee

The original box-office baron as he was known, was a talent-seeker extraordinary. Belonging to Himanshu Rai’s Bombay Talkies school, Sashadhar Mukerji never believed in heavy cinema laced with cynicism or social messages like many a Bengali filmmaker. Beginning as Rai’s sound recordist, he took over as producer after hierarchal changes in the Bombay Talkies set-up and was part of the team that made the famous Bombay Talkies hit trilogy of Kangan, Bandhan (both ‘39) and Jhoola (‘41). After the all-time hit Kismet (‘43), Mukerji left Bombay Talkies to co-produce films under a new banner, Filmistan, giving hits like Shehnai, Shaheed, Samadhi, Sangram and Sargam through the ‘40s and Nagin and Anarkali, two blockbusters, in the early ‘50s, besides making stars of Nasir Husain and Shammi Kapoor with Tumsa Nahin Dekha (‘57).



Mukherjee then built Filmalaya Studios and launched Dil Deke Dekho with the same pair of Nasir-Shammi, which was also a resounding hit in ‘59. After that he made Love In Simla and Ek Musafir Ek Hasina, which ended the long success streak of the original King Midas.

 
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Sohrab Modi


Sohrab Modi

Born in Bombay, Sohrab Modi was a Parsee stage actor, who had done some work in silent films but returned with the advent of sound as actor, director and producer.

His first two films were Khoon ka Khoon (1935) which was an adaptation of Hamlet and marked Naseem Bano's acting debut whilst the second, Saed-e-Havas (1936) was based on Shakespeare's King John. He then launched Minerva Movietone in 1936. His early films at Minerva dealt with contemporary social issues such as alcoholism in Meetha Zaher (1938) and the right of Hindu women to divorce in Talaq (1938). Minerva Movietone was famous for it's trilogy of historical spectaculars that were to follow - Pukar (1939), Sikander(1941) and Prithvi Vallabh (1943), wherein Modi made the most of his gift for grandiloquence to encapsulate all that is glorious about Indian History.

Although Modi went beyond the Parsee theatre for his choice of themes and even tackled such themes as illicit passion (Jailor (1938), remade in 1958) and incest in Bharosa (1940), his formal approach remained tied to it and evokes the way Parsee Theatre looked and sounded- using frontal compositions and staging the narrative in spatial layers with copious use of Urdu dialogue. In 1946, he married actress Mehtab whom he directed in Parakh (1944) and India's first film in technicolour -Jhansi ki Rani (1953).

Modi next was Mirza Ghalib (1954). The film, based on the life of the great Indian poet who lived during the reign of Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last of the Mughal Emperors, won the President's Gold Medal for Best Feature Film of 1954. The film beautifully captured the mood of the period, its hedonistic pursuits and the fading magnificence of the court of the last Mughal and also saw Suraiya’s finest dramatic performance as she made alive and vivid the role of the married Ghalib's lover, a courtesan. In fact India's then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru paid her the ultimate compliment by telling her she had brought Mirza Ghalib to life. (Tumne Mirza Ghalib ki Rooh ko Zinda Kar Diya).

His other works included Sheesh Mahal (1950), Kundan (1955), Nausherwan-e-Adil (1957) and Jailor (1958).

Sohrab Modi died of cancer at the age of 86, his signature boom muffled, but his spirit remaining indomitable till the end.

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Homi Wadia


Homi Wadia

Homi Wadia was probably the oldest filmmakers of his era and expired at the age of 93 in Mumbai. He was the founder of Wadia Movietone and Basant Pictures. In a career spanning 5 decades, Wadia started as a cinematographer in Lal-e-Yaman (1933) and subsequently produced and directed around 40 films including adventurous flicks like Hunterwali, Miss Frontier Mail, Diamond Queen and fantasy films like Hatim Tai.

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Mehboob Khan


Mehboob Khan

A man of humble beginnings and little formal education, Mehboob Khan became one of India's greatest Filmmakers. Like many other filmmakers of his time, Mehboob's craft was learnt in the Film Theatre, the common motif in his films usually being the oppressed poor pitted against the oppressive rich.

Born Ramjan Khan in Bilimoria, Gujarat, he ran away from home to Bombay and spent his earlier youth scrounging work in the studios. He started his career with the Imperial Film Company as a bit player in Alibaba and the Forty Thieves (1927). He then joined Sagar Movietone and played supporting characters in several films before getting his first break as a director there with Judgement of Allah (1935) depicting Roman - Arab confrontation. Manmohan (1936), inspired by Barua's Devdas(1935) and Jagirdar (1937) consolidated his position but with Ek hi Raasta (1939), Mehboob gave his first inclination of his social concerns and political leanings. The film is about a war veteran who having seen much death and destruction goes through a period of uneasy adjustment.

After the World War II, Mehboob Khan with his entire production unit joined the newly formed company National Studios for whom he directed three of his most important films - Aurat (1940), Bahen (1941) and Roti (1942).

He then left National to set up his own Mehboob Productions. Mehboob Productions came out with a regular output of films such as Anmol Ghadi (1946) and the cult classic Andaaz (1949). The triangle to beat all triangles, Andaaz remains startlingly modern even by today's standards even though it propagates traditionalism. Mehboob followed Andaaz with the spectacle Aan (1952), his first film in colour. Aan even had a release in London and was much appreciated. This was followed by Amar (1954)

Mehboob Khan returned to familiar territory remaking his earlier hit Aurat as Mother India (1957). Mother India was his magnum opus and is the ultimate tribute to Indian Womanhood! It became the first Indian Film to be nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Film Category and at the 1958 Academy Awards lost out to another masterpiece Federico Fellini's Nights of Caberia by a solitary vote at the third poll.

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A R Kardar


A R Kardar

Abdur Rashid Kardar (A.R. Kardar) is famed for established film-making in Lahore. He started in the era of silent movies with the production of Mysterious Eagle alias Husn Ka Daku that started earlier but was released in 1930, and founded the industry in Lahore. With him was Bhati Gate's M. Ismail, another name among the pioneers of cinema in Lahore, a great friend of Kardar's who had a similar passion for acting. They were professional calligraphists who also prepared posters and paint boards for silent films occasionally.

The two went to Bombay in 1927 and were lucky in getting roles in Imperial Film Company's Heer Ranjha, in which Ismail played the villain Kaido and Kardar did a side role. But they returned to Lahore in 1928 to pursue a career in film-making, which was to credit them as bellwethers of the film industry in northern India.

Kardar started his career as assistant director and hero of The Daughter of Today, produced by G.K. Mehta under the banner of Premier Film Company in 1928. The film was directed by Shankradev Arya with Wilayat Begum in the female lead and M. Ismail, Vijay Kumar, Heera Lal and Master Ghulam Qadir in the supporting cast. G.K. Mehta may thus be regarded as the first film-maker of Lahore. The Daughter of Today was produced in the first open studio in the city set up near the Bradlaw Hall. Some more films were also produced in this studio but it was closed down for financial reasons
With no work left after The Daughters of Today, A.R. Kardar and M. Ismail sold their belongings to set up a studio and a production company under the name of United Players Corporation in 1928. The studio was set up at Ravi Road (now timber market) where shooting was possible in daylight only. But they had good sites of the Ravi forest (Zakheera) and tombs of Jahangir and Noor Jahan to shoot at.

United Players produced eight successful films. The first was Mysterious Eagle, which was a debut for Kardar as director. He cast himself as the male lead opposite Gulzar Begum. Others in the cast included M. Ismail, Master Ghulam Qadir, Ahmad Din and an American actor Iris Crawford.

Kardar left acting and introduced debonair Gul Hameed as hero in his second film Brave Heart alias Sarfrosh, with more or less the same cast in addition to giving roles to Rafiq Ghaznavi who later became a music director.

Kardar's third film was Safdar Jang in which he introduced Mumtaz Begum as heroine. All these films were released in Lahore's Deepak cinema at Bhati Gate (later called Paramount, which no longer exists) between June and October 1930. His next film was Shephard King alias Gudaria Sultan. The fifth was Golden Dagger alias Sunehri Khanjar in which he introduced Nazeer, later a famous producer-director.

Now that Kardar had established himself as a director, he hired the services of Jhelum's J.K. Nanda, who had training in direction and photography from Germany, to direct his sixth film Wandering Dancer alias Aawara Raqqasa. The screenplay was written by M. Sadiq.

Kardar's seventh film was Mistress Bandit. In the last three films Nazeer and Gulzar Begum had established themselves as successful leading pair and M. Ismail as a leading villain.

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Vijay Bhatt


Vijay Bhatt

Vijay Bhatt, the founder of Prakash Pictures and the maker of such masterpieces like Ram Rajya and Baiju Bawra was born on May 12, 1907, in the small town of Palitana in Saurashtra, Gujarat.

The son of a railway guard, he along with his elder brother and his lifelong partner, Shri Shankarbhai Bhatt, shared a fascination for theatre and films. In their twenties, both came to Mumbai where Vijay Bhatt enrolled studied up to Intermediate Science in St. Xavier's College. A flair for writing led him to get involved in a humble way as storywriter. He wrote 2 plays for professional Gujarati stage and one of them, 'Lakho Phulani', fetched him Rs. 400 and ran successfully for one whole year. It was Ardeshir Irani, the 'Father of the Indian Talkies' and the maker of 'Alam Ara' who showed them the way. At that time, he was the managing director of The Royal Studios. He glanced through the stories, selected one of them and sought the approval of the proprietor of the studio, Seth Aboo Hussein. Ardeshir Irani took it upon himself to teach Vijay Bhatt how to write a screenplay. Every evening after the day's work and dinner, the Bhatt brothers would make their way to Majestic Cinema, built by Ardeshir Irani in 1918 in partnership with the exhibitor, Abdulaly Yusoofaly. Irani would be here every evening with his friends. And it was here that Vijay Bhatt scripted his very first screenplay, 'Vidhika Vidhan', which was made into a film by director P. K. Bhave.

Ardeshir Irani made two more films based on the stories by the Bhatt brothers. They were 'Pani Mey Aag' and 'Ghulam'(1929), both of which were directed by Nagendra Muzumdar. Their third film featured a newly recruited actor from Peshavar, Prithviraj Kapoor.

By now, Ardeshir Irani had founded his own Imperial Studios and drawn to it a host of artists and technicians. The Bhatt brothers too had gathered enough experience and ventured to make films on their own. They soon founded the Royal Film Co. in partnership with a cousin and the first film to be produced under this banner was ' Black Ghost'. It starred Master Vithal and Madhuri and was photographed by V. M.Vyas. With Vijay Bhatt at the helm of the creative affairs and Shankarbhai in charge of the business aspect, they made seven silent films under the banner of The Royal Film Company in an open air studio in Juhu. Among them was 'Heer Ranjha', here Vijay Bhatt gave A.R. Kardar, a poster maker for foreign film distributors, his first acting assignment.

Then came the year of Talkies and the Bhatts too switched over to this new medium with 'Alif Laila'(1933), which was based on an Arabian Nights story and made under the banner of Royal Cinetone. This was followed by 3 other talkies made under the banner of Kardar Studios. He then founded a film distribution concern, Royal Pictures Corporation.

By now Vijay Bhatt had evolved into a director to be reckoned with. It was time to set up his own production company. And Prakash Pictures was born. Prakash Studios was built in 1934 at Andheri. The first film to be made there was 'Actress' (Bambai ki Mohini), written and produced by Vijay Bhatt. The famed torch of Prakash Pictures continued to shine over decades and in all, 64 films were produced in various genres, in black and white as well as colour.

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Dev Anand


Dev Anand

He was born in Gurudaspur in Punjab to a well-to-do advocate, Devdutt Pishorimal Anand. He graduated in English Literature from the Government College, Lahore. His love for acting made him leave his hometown. After a flop debut with Hum Ek Hain in 1946, Dev Anand met Guru Dutt at Prabhat Studio and struck a rapport with him. His first success came with Ziddi(1948).

Dev invited Guru Dutt to direct the crime thriller Baazi in 1951. Lyricist Sahir's song Tadbeer se bigdi huyee proved to be prophetic and Dev went on to become a "star". His style was lapped up by the audience and imitated. Some of his hit films were Munimji, CID, Paying Guest, Gambler, Tere Ghar ke Saamne and Kaala Pani.

Dev Anand married film actress Kalpana Kartik in 1954. His first film in colour, Guide with Waheeda Rehman was an Indo-US collaboration released in 1965. This was probably his best work till date and he received the Filmfare Award for best actor for the same.

Dev Anand's films are best known for their great music. Some of the most popular Hindi songs were picturized on him. His association with music composers – from SD Burman to hisR D Burman, lyricists Majrooh Sultanpuri, Neeraj, Shailendra, and playback singers Mohammad Rafi and Kishore Kumar produced some of the best songs in the Bollywood history.

In 1991, he was awarded the Filmfare Award for Lifetime Achievement. Then in 2001, he was felicitated with the Padma Bhushan, an honour by the Government of India. He was also awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, 2002, for lifetime contribution to Indian cinema.

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Bimal Roy


Bimal Roy

Bimal Roy was one of the greatest ever directors of Indian cinema. In his films we see a romantic idealist to whom any form of exploitation - social, religious or economic was unacceptable.

He came from a well to do Bengali family and entered films as a cameraman with New Theatres Pvt. Ltd. where he photographed films like Devdas(1935) and Mukti (1937). His first film as Director was Udayer Pathey (1944) in Bengali, which was remade as Humrahi (1945) in Hindi. The film was a big critical success. Right from his first film, Bimal Roy was able to introduce a realism and subtlety suited to the cinema.

Bimal Roy migrated to Bombay after the collapse of New Theatres. His first film there was Maa (1952) for Bombay Talkies, a typical melodrama that was redeemed by Roy's innate reserve and good taste. He then made Parineeta (1953) based on a Sarath Chandra story before forming his own production unit and making his breakthrough film,Do Bigha Zameen

Bimal Roy adapted another Sarath Chandra story Biraj Bahu (1954) before embarking on Devdas (1955). After Devdas, he turned to two films that were more in tune with mainstream Hindi potboilers – Madhumati (1958, a reincarnation drama and Yahudi (1958). Both the films were smash hits. Bimal Roy's two much acclaimed films with Nutan, Sujata (1959) and Bandini (1963 saw him returning to realistic imperatives.

He did two films Parakh (1960) and Prem Patra (1962) both starring Sadhana. Parakh sees Bimal Roy venture into satire territory and is a witty, perceptive film and looks at how greed and money affect the behaviour of people. Released in 1960, Parakh went on to win for Bimal Roy yet another Filmfare Award for Best Director making it a hat-trick following Madhumati and Sujata the previous two years. Parakh proves that a small well made film can be equally good if not better than the big budget film with big stars because it is the content that ultimately counts.

Bimal Roy's last production before he died was Benazir (1964) directed by S. Khalil. Bimal Roy passed away in 1966 after a long illness.

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S.S. Vasan


S .S. Vasan

S.S. Vasan came from Thiruthuraipoondi in Tamil Nadu, South India. He came to Madras (now Chennai) to study and then started an Advertising Agency. With the revenue he earned, he bought a small printing press and launched Anandavikatan, a popular weekly in Tamil Nadu even today. He got involved with films when his novel Sati Leelavati was made into a film in 1936.

In 1938 he took over distribution of films of the Madras United Artists Corporation. In 1941 Vasan bought the charred premises of the Motion Picture Producers Combine, did some rebuilding, and launched the production company Gemini Studios.

During the war the firm dabbled in a variety of films including a mythological, a stunt film and a love story or two - Films like Mangamma Sapatham (1943), Kannamma En Kadhali (1945), Miss Malini (1947) and Apoorva Sahodarargal (1949).

However Vasan was really preparing his big post-independence break. He entered the Hindi market with Chandralekha (1948) a spectacle. Its drum dance is remembered even today! 603 prints of Chandralekha were made and the film was even released in the United States as Chandra with English subtitles!

Vasan believed that films were meant to entertain and were meant to be catered to the ordinary man. Colossal production values, huge sets, mammoth dances, thousands of extras were his hallmark.

In the 1950s Gemini Pictures came out with films both in Tamil and Hindi. Popular Hindi films include Mr. Sampat (1952), Insaniyat (1955), Raj Tilak (1958) and Paigam (1959). In 1958 he established Gemini Colour Laboratories.

Vasan was nominated to the Rajya Sabha and was also given the Padma Bhusan by the Govt. of India in 1969, the year of his death.

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B. N. Sircar


B. N. Sircar

The second son of Sir N.N. Sircar, the Advocate General of undivided Bengal, and a member of the Viceroy's Council. Birendranath, was a civil engineering with a degree to that effect from London University. He abandoned the safe and secure career of construction engineer to become a film producer.

Armed with a degree in engineering, B.N. Sircar began life as a contractor. It was while supervising the building of a cinema theatre that he became interested in films. So fascinated was he, that he went ahead to construct his own cinema, 'Chitra,' now called 'Mitra', which was declared open, in December 1930 by Subhas Chandra Bose. Sircar built a second theatre in Central Calcutta which he named 'New Cinema' where Hindi Films were exclusively screened, meanwhile Chitra remained reserved for Bengali movies.

B.N. Sircar floated a production concern around the same time, International Film Craft, and under this banner he produced two silent films, Chashar Meye and Chor Kanta. With the advent of talkies, he began his own studio at Tollygunj called New Theatres Ltd., in 1931. New Theatres' first film was the Bengali talkie, Dena Paona released in 1931.

A doyen of film producers in Bengal, B.N. Sircar presided over the fortunes of New Theatres for 24 years, producing more than 150 films in various languages including Bengali, Hindi and Tamil. Puran Bhagat, Yahudi Ki Ladki, Chandidas, Devdas, Dhoop Chaon, Mukti, Vidhyapati, Street Singer, Badi Didi and Presient were the notable Hindi Versions of the bi-linguals which were also made in Bengali. Bakul (1955) was his last film.

New Theatres films were often based on well-known Bengali novels by Bankimchandra. Rabindranath, and Saratchandra. Alternatively, popular novelists were commissioned to write stories for films. Stories of a good number of New Theatres' hits' were written by Sailajananda Mukhopadhyay, including Deshar Mati (1938), Jiban Maran (1939) and Daktar (1940). Benoy Chatterjee who it needs to be stated, only wrote for films, wrote the stories of highly successful N. T. films : Pratisruti (1941), Parichay (1941) and Wapas (1943). One must take note of the fact that New Theatres films, fulfilled the primary objective of entertainment, and at the same time concerned itself with a social or humanitarian theme.

Nearly four decades have passed since the films of the New Theatres Ltd. were released, yet to film buffs, the magic of the name. New Theatres' remains alive. Indeed, to elder generations of Bengalis, New Theatres is an institution and like Rabindranath, the name with which they became familiar from childhood. Like the roaring lion of the Metro GoldwynMayer Ltd. (MM), the elephant on New Theatres' logo came to be regarded as the hallmark of quality, and the elephant is fondly remembered even today.

B.N. Sircar, was honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke award in 1971.

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Mohan Segal


Mohan Segal

The prolific and wide-ranging filmmaker was a truly kindred artiste. Trained alongside Guru Dutt in the art of filmmaking, Segal was part of Uday Shankar's dance group. Like Dutt, he was also a part-time actor.

Rekha, in fact, is the actor that Segal's career was most closely identified with. For "Sawan Bhadon", he auditioned the 15-year-old overweight Tamil star and immediately saw her potential. He cast her with Navin Nischol.

In 1974, Segal again paired Rekha and Nischol in the experimental "Woh Main Nahin". Rekha was also the lead in Segal's last directorial venture "Kasam Suhaag Ki" in 1989. He also worked with Asha Parekhfor two back-to-back films - "Kanyadaan" and "Sajan"

Mohan Segal's most famous films are as under : "New Delhi" (1956), "Apna Haath Jagnnath" (1960), "Devar" (1966), "Sajan" (1969), "Sawan Bhadon" (1970), "Raja Jani" (1972), "Ek Hi Rasta" (1977).

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A.V. Meiyappan


A. V. Meiyappan

A.V. Meiyappan, the founder of AVM Studios, was born in Karaikudi, a small town in South India, in 1907. He began work as an apprentice in his father's shop - A. V. & Sons. A perceptive observer, he soon realised that greater opportunities lay outside his hometown. He began Saraswathi Stores - an exclusive outlet for gramophone records.

He noticed only classical songs were being sold. Breaking away from tradition he released a few records of folk songs and struck gold. His venture did so well that it won the rights to distribute records under the popular German label Odeon.

His love affair with the silver screen started with the advent of the talkies in the 1930s. His maiden production Alli Arjuna, followed by Ratnavali and Nanda Kumar opened the floodgates of success.

A.V.Meyyappan has produced and directed many films under his banner AVM Studios. His film Naam Iruvar in Tamil became a block buster. His film Vazhkai is another mega-hit which made film actress-politician Vyjayanthimala an instant star. His block-busters include Kalathur Kannamma, Server Sundaram and Ramu. He produced many successful films in Hindi like Bahar, Bhabhi, Barkha and Chori-Chori. AVM studios continue to give good quality family entertainers. His sons now manage the studio. The studio celebrated its 50th year recently with the film Minsara Kanavu.

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Dr. B.R. Chopra


Dr. B. R. Chopra

Baldev Raj Chopra came to Mumbai from Lahore after the partition of India, a victim of communal riots of 1947, his house having been burnt down. Chopra initially edited a film journal Cine Herald before turning to filmmaking.

His first film Afsana (1951) a tale of mistaken identity with Ashok Kumar in a double role was a commercial success and B.R. Chopra was on his way.

With Ek hi Raasta (1956) he launched his production company B.R. Films. Success after success followed - Naya Daur (1957), Sadhana (1958), Dhool ka Phool (1959) - his brother Yash Chopra’s directorial debut, Kanoon (1960), Gumrah (1963), Waqt (1965) - directed by Yash Chopra and Humraaz (1967).

Chopra has always endeavoured to make socially relevant films, yet his films have always catered to popular sentiment. And to be fair to him, he has also done several films that were regarded as bold and ahead of their time. He dared to try a songless film with a hard-hitting suspense courtroom drama, Kanoon; showed a woman resuming her affair with her lover after she is married in Gumraah; produced a film, Ittefaq (1969), in which the heroine is an adulteress and murders her husband with the help of her lover and in Dhund (1973) a woman married to a paralytic takes on a lover.

Dr Chopra continued to make films in the 1970s and 80s and tasted success with Insaaf ka Taraazu (1980), and Nikaah (1982).

Today B.R. Films has diversified into television and among other programmes has made Mahabharat, based on the great Indian epic, which perhaps was the most popular serial ever in the history of Indian Television.

B.R. Chopra has for long been the Hindi Film Industry's senior spokesman and was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for his contribution to Indian Cinema in 1999.