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Vidhu Vinod Chopra on Shikara and his “deeply satisfying” Bollywood journey


Vidhu Vinod Chopra
Vidhu Vinod Chopra

Known for delivering a series of blockbusters in his illustrious career, filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra recently returned to direction with a small-budget film Shikara (2020), based on the exodus of Kashmiri Hindu Pandits in the valley. Starring debutants Aadil Khan and Saadia in lead roles, the movie has now started streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

After the release of Shikara, Chopra faced criticism for commercializing the plot and fiddling with the story. Taking on those accusations, the filmmaker tells a publication, “I have also heard people say that I have diluted or misrepresented the plot for commercial gains. I find these claims very dubious since most of the people who are saying this on digital media have not seen the movie. They probably have other motives to spread negativity. And also, these trolls don’t know the exact meaning of commercialisation.

 

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He goes on to add, “Some of the films I have made have opened at ₹30 to ₹40 crore. I spent many years of my life making Shikara knowing fully well that it will never have an opening like that because I wanted to tell a story about my people and their endurance and courage. I also wanted to fulfil the promise I made to my mother before she died in exile in 2005. If I wanted to make a movie with only commercial gain in mind, then I would have made a Munna Bhai or 3 Idiot’s sequel. That is simple logic that most people will understand. The commercialisation accusation is baseless and I would urge all to see the movie and judge for themselves.”

 

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Looking back at his four-decade long journey in Bollywood, the filmmaker says that it has been deeply satisfying. “It has been a dream come true. I came from a small mohalla in Kashmir with a dream to become a filmmaker. My father slapped me when I told him that I wanted to make movies, he felt that I will die of hunger in Bombay. My journey from a small town lower middle-class boy to where I’ve reached has been deeply satisfying,” he signs off.