Baldev Raj Chopra, popularly known as B. R. Chopra was born on 22nd April 1914, in Ludhiana, Punjab. He is the brother of Yash Chopra, India’s top most directors today. He started his career as a movie journalist due to his interest in films, despite procuring a degree in Engl(ish literature. He wrote and edited film reviews for the Cine Herald Journal in his early days. After the partition of India, he migrated to Mumbai to realise his dreams in film making. After the initial struggle and low-downs, he managed to get his first hit, Afsana in 1951, where he played the dual role of producer as well as director.
In 1955, he started his own production house B. R. Films, whose first film Ek hi Raasta was immensely successful. Encouraged by it’s success, he went on to make more commercially successful films like Naya Daur (1957), Sadhna (1958) and Dhool Ka Phool (1959).
After this there was no looking back for him. In 1960, came Kanoon, a murder mystery which enthralled one and all. Then in 1965, came Waqt… a family drama that captivated everyone’s interests and went on to become a huge hit. This was followed by Humraaz (1967),Aadmi aur Insaan (1969) and Ittefaq (1969). Ittefaq is one of the few Bollywood films which is songless. And in an era, when music was the key to a film’s success, making a songless film itself was a brave attempt by B R Chopra. His other notable films are Chhoti Si Baat (1975), (directed by Basu Chatterjee) which had Amol Palekar as the main protagonist. The Burning Train (1980), Insaaf ka Tarazu (1980), Nikaah (1982), were few of the other films that were made under the B. R. banner and were received well amongst the audiences. In the late 80’s, B. R. Chopra moved onto making serials for television. The first being Bahadur Shah Zafar in 1986. Then in 1988, he made Mahabharat which took the entire nation by storm. So, popular were the characters of this epic drama that wherever they went they were recognized instantly. In a way, B. R. Chopra had destined their careers. In recent times, he produced Baaghban (2003) which was a family drama and brought Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini together on celluloid after a long time. This film too did very well at the box-office.
Amidst all this, he also had to face a few setbacks when few of his films, Tawaif (1985), Awaam (1987) and Pratigyabadh (1991) did not do well at the box-office. However,this was in the late 80’s by when he had moved onto television. In 2006, he produced Baabul which turned out to be a dud and was not accepted by the audiences.
Even today, B.R. Chopra retains a very keen interest in films. B. R. Films is one of the most successful production companies to have stood the test of time, and today, it is equally known for its TV serials as for motion pictures.
B. R. Chopra was the first recipient of the National Award as Best Director for his film Humraaz (1968). His films Dharmaputra (1962) and Gumraah (1963) received the National Award for best Hindi film. In 1961 his film Kanoon, received the Filmfare award for best film. In 1998, he received the Dadasheb Phalke award and in 2003, the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement award was conferred upon him.
He has represented India, as jury at various national and international film festivals, including Berlin film festival. He has served on various Government and trade bodies apart from being President of the Film Producers Council, and has also been a member of the Board of Film Censors for a number of years.