Clans in Indian Cinema: BR Chopra, Yash Chopra and Bollywood's Powerful Family of Filmmakers

Bohni Bandyopadhyay
·4-min read

The Chopras are one of the most influential filmmaking families in Hindi cinema. They also contributed the iconic Mahabharat, one of the most successful serials in Indian television history. The Chopra family has produced some of the country’s biggest blockbusters featuring leading superstars from every decade. Baldev Raj Chopra founded B.R. Films in 1947, which was later run by his son Ravi Chopra. BR Chopra’s younger brother Yash Chopra directed and produced several hits for BR Films, before branching out to form his own Yash Raj Films, along with son Aditya Chopra. Aditya Chopra has proved himself to be one of the major producer-directors we have in Bollywood today, carrying his family’s shining legacy forward.

1st generation:

Baldev Raj Chopra: The Chopra patriarch was best known for directing Hindi films like Naya Daur (1957), Sadhna (1958), Kanoon (1961), Gumrah (1963), Humraaz (1967), Insaaf Ka Tarazu (1980), Nikaah (1982), Awam (1987), and the producer of TV series Mahabharat in 1988. His first film as a director, Afsana, was released in 1951 and established his name in Bollywood. He directed successful film across genres after 1972 – suspense thriller Dhund, drama Karma (1977), comedy film Pati Patni Aur Woh, crime film Insaaf Ka Tarazu, Muslim social in Nikaah and the political thriller Awam. Chopra forayed into television with Mahabharat. He also produced the TV series Kanoon, Aap Beeti, Vishnu Puran and Maa Shakti. He produced films like Baghbhan, Babul and Bhootnath, after 2000.

Yash Chopra: He began his career as an assistant director to IS Johar and his elder brother, BR Chopra. Yash Chopra made his directorial debut with Dhool Ka Phool in 1959. Chopra rose to prominence after directing the critically and commercially successful drama Waqt (1965), which pioneered the concept of ensemble casts in Bollywood. In 1970, he founded his own production company, Yash Raj Films, whose first production was Daag: A Poem of Love (1973), a successful melodrama about polygamy. His association with Amitabh Bachchan gave some of Indian cinema’s most successful and iconic films, including the action-thriller Deewaar (1975), romantic drama Kabhi Kabhie (1976) and the ensemble drama Trishul (1978). Chopra directed Dil To Pagal Hai (1997), Veer-Zaara (2004) and Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012), before announcing his retirement from direction in 2012.

In 1970, Chopra married Pamela Singh and together they have two sons Aditya Chopra and Uday Chopra.

2nd generation:

Ravi Chopra: He started his career assisting his father B.R. Chopra in films like, Dastaan (1972) and Dhund (1973). He also assisted his uncle Yash Chopra in Ittefaq (1969). Eventually, he made his independent directorial debut with Zameer (1975). He, along with his father, directed the TV series Mahabharat (1988–89). He died in 2014, and is survived by his wife and two children.

Aditya Chopra: He has taken Yash Raj Films to new heights, it is now a multi-national film, media, and entertainment conglomerate with its reaches way beyond Indian cinema. As a filmmaker, he has directed and produced several hit films in his three-decade career. He directed the all-time blockbuster Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge at the age of 23. Chopra had brother Uday Chopra and cousin Karan Johar as assistant directors on the film.

His association with Shah Rukh Khan has resulted in several hit films – Mohabbatein, Veer-Zara, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, etc. Aditya also produced and wrote several other highly commercial and critically acclaimed films over the years – Bunty Aur Babli, Salaam Namaste, Fanaa, Dhoom and Chak De India. He has also launched several fresh talents under his banner, including Anushka Sharma and Parineeti Chopra.

He was married to Payal Khanna, until their divorce in 2009. The couple had no children. In April 2014, he married actress Rani Mukerji in a private wedding ceremony in Italy. Rani belongs to the prestigious Mukerji family with generations of actors and filmmakers in the industry. In December 2015, Rani gave birth to their daughter Adira Chopra. Filmmaker Karan Johar is a cousin of Aditya Chopra.

Uday Chopra: He made his acting debut in 2000 with Mohabbatein and featured in several films including Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai, Mujhse Dosti Karoge and has a recurring role in the Dhoom franchise. He is the owner-manager (CEO) of YRF Entertainment and manager of Yash Raj Films along with his mother Pamela Chopra and his brother Aditya Chopra, who owns the company. In 2012, Chopra founded his own company, Yomics, which creates comics about famous Yash Raj Films including Hum Tum, Dhoom and Ek Tha Tiger.

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