Yash Uncle doesn’t mind going beyond the script: Ravi Chopra
Producer-director Ravi Chopra speaks to Sushma Shelly about the BR Chopra Banner, the family and Yash Chopra.
The letter B is at the heart of my life. BR is the name of my father as well as that of our banner. An MA in English literature, he founded a family that eats, prays and stays together.
We have always sat down to dinner together. He would plan his outdoor shoots to coincide with his children’s school vacations, right from Ek Hi Rasta (1956) to his last day of shoot for Aawam (1986).
Dilip Kumar uncle would discuss the script...
I did my BA from St Xavier’s. While in college, I’d get Rs 150 a month for pocket money.. kids of other film people got much more. That was my first lesson in budgeting.
At home, I’d see Dilip Kumar Uncle sit with dad late in the nights to discuss a script... then there were days when Sunil Dutt Uncle would come over to get some clarifications on his scenes. A film was created by the director, the actors were just a tool in his hands. It was this sense of power that attracted me to filmmaking.. it’s just that a film is a director’s medium, for better or worse it’s his vision.
Hits meant heavenly holidays...
The box-office has always mattered. A BR film’s success ensured a foreign holiday for the entire family. In 1959, dad took us to Europe for a month-and-a- half. Johnny Walker joined us with his wife. In 1969, we went to Hong Kong and Tokyo. But when a film flopped, ghar mein maatam chha jata tha.
The children would be the worst affected, they would think of cutting down their expenses to save every rupee. Since we are Arya Samajis, we would have a hawan at home every Sunday. Dad would perform the rites himself. The tradition has continued. Now I perform the havan with the entire family attending. I know all the mantra by heart. I can even solemnise wedding ceremonies.
I was always the second son for dad. Yash Uncle was the first son! He assisted him on Aadmi Aur Insaan and Ittefaq. We shared a bedroom till he got married and moved out. Yash Uncle was 40, I was 23. I assisted dad on Dastaan, Dhund, Pati Patni Aur Woh and Insaaf Ka Tarazu. My style is closer to his.
For dad, the script is sacrosanct, he wouldn’t ever deviate from it. Yash Uncle doesn’t mind going beyond the script, unki garibi mein bhi amiri dikhayee degi.
Adi and Payal have behaved like two mature adults...
Aditya (my cousin) has proved himself to be an accomplished film maker. But his body of work is too small to really judge him. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge was very good, Mohabattein was just okay.
He is a successful producer. His cinema is more commercial. His films are business ventures. Whenever I meet him, we religiously avoid discussing business or even personal matters. I would say, you can’t compartmentalise life. What’s right and what’s wrong are very relative things.
Adi and Payal lived together for four-five years. I’m sure they must have tried their best to make their relationship work. If their efforts have failed, it would be stupid to continue to be together.Why keep fighting and be unhappy? It’s silly to be unhappy together. It’s better to separate and try to be happy.
Since, they don’t have a child, they have taken the right decision to part ways.When there are children, you have to prioritise their interests and happiness. Since that impediment wasn’t there, I think, they have acted like two mature adults. And if you asking me to comment on the matter, I would say it is commendable of Yash Uncle to take on Payal’s responsibility.
Uday Chopra needs an author-backed role...
Uday’s a good actor. May be he lacks the personality of an actor.What he really needs is an author-backed role in a hit film. Baghbaan, Babul, Bhootnath.. next Banda Yeh Bindaas Hai. The ‘B’ is just coincidental.. I’m not superstitious, the B letter is just a coincidence. Actually, the original title was Pappu Paas Ho Gaya.. but someone else was making Aur Pappu Paas Ho Gaya. So the title had to be changed.
After this one, I will be doing Pocketmar with Amitabh Bachchan and a young hero. But yes, I do believe in numerology. 1, 3, 5, 6 and 9 are my lucky numbers. All the titles of our films fit into those numbers. Incidentally, BR and RK are both no. 5. I have stuck to BR for my other company names too — BR Ads, BR Television, BR Communications and BR Pix & Trix.