Vidhu Vinod Chopra's recently-concluded 10-film retrospective has brought into light his body of work. Chopra who began his career
with a diploma film Murder At Monkey Hill can look back at his work with some pride.
Laughs the director, "When I see those ten films on the posters for my retrospective, I am proud of each and every film. I still remember when Parinda
was first screened at the Alankar cinema in Mumbai. It ran for only a week. I had gone there to check out audiences' reactions. They were giving the film gaalis
saying, 'Anil Kapoor aur Madhuri ko maar diyaâ€¦Jackie ki koi heroine nahin haiâ€¦aur qawwalli kahan hai?' I was shattered. The experience also taught me to
never gauge audiences' reactions. Ever since that fateful day in Alankar, I've never been to see any of my films with the audience. I realized by doing so, my art
would be corrupted. If I did, I'd have never dared to make an Eklavya. Even today six years after it was made, I get messages from big Hollywood stars
saying they watched it six times and cried every time. So I never venture out for people's reactions nor read my reviews."
The organizers of the Vidhu Vinod Chopra retrospective had prepared a wall with the names of all the 32 artistes who started with Chopra. But he grew
uncharacteristically shy of this open display of achievement.
Laughs Chopra, "I told them, 'Nahin bhaiyya mat banao.' I didn't want a self-endorsement for all the 32 people whose lives I made. I had the wall cancelled at
the last minute. It would've looked like showing off. As it is I am perceived to be an arrogant bugger."
I wonder which of his films he is proudest of, and Vinod surprises us with his answer. "It's a tough question to answer. The music of 1942: A Love Story
makes me proud. The courage to do a song-less 90-minute film Khamosh in 1985 makes me proud. Looking back, I wonder where that courage came
from! The other night I saw some of the sequences in Parinda and wondered where that came from. Then there's Lage Raho Munnabhaiâ€¦who in
this day and age would dare an ode to Mahatma Gandhi? So there's a bit of pride about every film."
Tell him he saw a spark in Vidya Balan for Parineeta long before anyone else did and Chopra protests, "Why just Vidya? Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Farah
Khan, Boman Irani, Shantanu Moitraâ€¦the retrospective of my films made me so proud of all my discoveries."
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