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Ga ga over family Saga!!


If it bears the Chopra stamp, rest assured, it’ll be wholesome family entertainment. Son of the legendry B.R. Chopra and maker of movies that almost leave an afterglow on the audience, Ravi Chopra talks to TSI about family cinema and its never-out-of-fashion social relevance
RAVI CHOPRA, NEHA SARIN | Issue Dated: May 13, 2007
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Ga ga over family Saga!! Movies like Zameer, The Burning Train, then TV epics and the latest string of family flicks . . . Is it just another formula or a conscientious choice?

Frankly, I do not follow things such as a genre. All I go for, is a good story. We’re in the business of storytelling, so we pick up interesting stories and treat them accordingly.

Are your movies supposed to be escapist or a true reflection of the current state of families?

If I say they’re not at all escapist, I’d be lying. But it is also a fact that if a story does not relate to the current trends, it’s not going to be appreciated or fully accepted by the audience. Unless a movie reflects the ways of the people in the society, it wouldn’t grab eyeballs.

Where do you find inspiration? Tell us about your family life.

We are a very close knit family. My parents, sisters and my nephews, all come to have lunch every Sunday followed by a havan – a ritual started by my dad. It has helped us to strengthen the bond between us. The inspiration, of course, comes from society itself. There is stuff that distresses you and stuff that exhilarates you. Finally, one ends up knitting it all together into a story . . .

Lots of movies with Big B. Describe your equation.

Both of us share a great rapport, perhaps because, we’re both Librans! The first time I worked with him was in my directorial debut Zameer in 1975, after which I didn’t really get an opportunity. But now, every second story I pick up seems to have an important role for Mr. Bachchan. There maybe a good chance that some roles are written and centred around him. But, only the most important role in my movie could do justice to his talent and persona, the marvellous actor that he is! Ga ga over family Saga!! As the successful director of Baabul and Baghban, do you think family cinema would find takers in the future?

Viewing habits of the people might change, but going to the movies never will. We go to a theatre not just for the movie, but for the whole experience. Once the lights go off, a unique connection is struck with the characters. As far as family is concerned, it is the basis of every society and is an important element. Hence, family cinema continues. Everyone will find something familiar, some character they can connect with.

How does one customise family cinema for Gen X?

One will have to change according to the requirements of the audience. Family films were made even 50 years ago, but the mood, the situations at hand were different. The way people react to things has changed. Hence, the manner the subject is dealt with is much customised, so to say.

What’s the one film that you wish to remake?

Honestly, none! But there are some great movies and I would love to make such movies. Each director brings out a different aspect to a subject. I love movies like Ganga Jamuna, Mother India and Munnabhai. After Mahabharata, I would also love to make a good historical.

What’s the one film you loved so much that you wished your name was in the credits?

Oh, there would be a lot of those movies you watch and go “why didn’t that subject occur to me?” For instance, Life is Beautiful, A Beautiful Mind, Mother India and Lawrence of Arabia. I really admire most of David Lean’s work.

Your future projects?

A movie called Pappu Paas Ho Gaya which emphasises on the power of believing and dreaming . . . There is another small but interesting film called Pocket Maar. The subject is crime: however big or small the crime, it’s still bad. You might rob 5,000 bucks off someone, but to him, it could be a matter of life and death.
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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017