Vidhu Vinod Chopra | The master storyteller

5 Min Read
Vidhu Vinod Chopra

“I’m quite an arrogant individual,” confesses filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra after a bout of self-reflection. It’s a candid admission that resonates with many in the audience, including Naseeruddin Shah, Kamal Haasan, Shabana Azmi, and others who have gathered at a Mumbai PVR multiplex to commemorate 45 years of Chopra’s illustrious film career. The past week has been dedicated to screening the seminal films he has produced throughout his captivating journey in Hindi cinema. These movies include classics like “Parinda” (1989), “1942 A Love Story” (1994), “Munna Bhai MBBS” (2003), “Lage Raho Munna Bhai” (2006), “3 Idiots” (2009), and “PK” (2014). However, Chopra isn’t content with mere nostalgia. At the age of 71, he continues to do what he does best—telling stories, his way.

His latest project, “12th Fail,” is based on the true story of IPS officer Manoj Kumar Sharma, who faced numerous obstacles while striving to crack the UPSC examinations, including a poor performance in his school-leaving exam because he chose not to cheat. Adapted from Anurag Pathak’s book of the same name, the film is a moving drama that touches upon various emotional themes and features a poignant performance by Vikrant Massey. Moreover, the movie sheds light on India’s multi-crore coaching industry, where institutes are known for using deceptive advertisements and alumni testimonials to lure aspirants. The film left a significant impact on Union commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal, who, after a special screening in Delhi on October 22, initiated actions against such institutes by sending notices to 20 coaching firms for issuing misleading advertisements and imposing fines on four others.

Vidhu Vinod Chopra
Vidhu Vinod Chopra

“12th Fail” is a project that Chopra has poured his heart and soul into, drawing from some of his own life experiences. He shares, “Like Manoj, my belongings too were stolen when I came to Mumbai. There was a struggle to survive, but I relied on hard work and resilience.” He adds, “My wife keeps telling me, ‘Koi nahin sun raha tera bhashan’ (no one cares for your sermons). It doesn’t stop me. I just restart, like Manoj.” Staying true to his core beliefs is of utmost importance to Chopra. He humbly acknowledges, “Manoj is referred to as a bloody idiot. I am that bloody idiot also.” Not surprisingly, after watching the film, Naseeruddin Shah, also a batchmate of Chopra’s at the Film & Television Institute of India in Pune, messaged to say that the filmmaker had finally mastered the art of direction, which is validation enough for Chopra.

With the movie’s release on the horizon, Chopra’s office in Santacruz, adorned with Kashmiri handicrafts, is abuzz with activity. An employee keeps an eye on the India vs. Pakistan World Cup match on a laptop, while Chopra, whose son, Agni Dev, is a Ranji-level player, follows the score. One of Chopra’s 11 dogs, Muffin, plays with a ball. Chopra shares his complex relationship with the film industry, saying, “I have had a love-hate relationship with the film fraternity. They love my work, they hate the rest of me,” with a hearty laugh. And he’s not joking.

Chopra’s reputation as a brutally honest individual precedes him. In a recent interview with his wife, journalist Anupama Chopra, Karan Johar remarked that Chopra “needs to be schooled” on the use of words more than his own 80-year-old mother, Hiroo. Chopra is known for his unwavering commitment to his craft, his meticulous approach to filmmaking, and his refusal to compromise on his creative vision. For example, “12th Fail” took three years to write and a year and a half of preparation before a 38-day shoot commenced.

Share This Article
By Vikram
"Meet Vikram, the creative mind behind With a passion for blogging that spans over two years, Vikram has established himself as a knowledgeable and insightful writer. Through his articles, Vikram delves into a variety of topics, offering valuable insights and perspectives to his readers. His dedication to producing high-quality content has garnered him recognition and success in the blogging world. Follow Vikram's journey on and discover the wealth of knowledge he has to offer."
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *