Following the success of his film earning a National Film Award, Vidhu Vinod Chopra turned down an opportunity to collaborate with Amitabh Bachchan, opting for a different project instead.
Vidhu Vinod Chopra revealed that Amitabh Bachchan wanted to work with him after watching his diploma film. However, Vidhu took up an offer from Doordarshan instead, because of the money involved in the project. The filmmaker shared the incident in a video posted online by ZEE Studios, the production house behind his latest film 12th Fail.
Amitabh wanted to work with Chopra
Recalling the time, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, said that legendary filmmaker Hrishikesh Mukherjee organised a special screening of his student film Murder at Monkey Hill for Amitabh Bachchan, after the film won a National Film Award. Soon after watching the film, Amitabh asked Vidhu to work with him. He said, “When he said that, I thought my struggle is over. He helped me get rid of my insecurity. I wrote something and I told him, ‘I don’t have money, give me ₹1200 or so.’ But he told me I must pay him as I am the writer, director. I told him that I had no money and he promised to think think about it.”
Murder at Monkey Hill was Vidhu’s final project during his diploma at FTII. It bagged the Best Short Experimental Film and the Guru Dutt Memorial Award for Best Student Film at National Film Awards that year.
Doordarshan offering better offer
Vidhu further said, “While he was thinking, I got a call from Doordarshan’s head and was tol ‘You do anything for us. I won’t you ask you any questions.’ I was being given ₹1500 for direction, ₹500 for dialogues, ₹500 for costumes – it was ₹4,500 all together. I was also offered a vehicle for commuting and I asked if I could get the car right away. I then sat in that white ambassador, and immediately went to see Amitabh in Mohan Studios. I told him that I got a better offer and won’t be working with him that film.”
Amitabh thought Rajesh Khanna stole Vidhu’s attention
Amitabh thought Rajesh Khanna offered Vidhu a project and the filmmaker then told him it was a TV project. When informed that it was a Doordarshan offer, Amitabh told Vidhu, “You will not make a film with me, but you will make one for Doordarshan?” Vidhu then told the star that the channel assured him that he could do anything. “Amitabh said, ‘Are you crazy? You can do anything with me as well.’ I said, ‘No, you are Amitabh Bachchan. You will say anything now and refuse later. What will happen to me then?’” The filmmaker added that Amitabh’s statement after watching his first film ended his insecurity forever, and he will always be grateful to the star.
Vidhu went on to make his first feature film with Naseeruddin Shah. Vidhu worked with Amitabh many years later in the 2007 film Eklavya.
Disclaimer: Except the headline and synopsis, this story has been taken from the HT News Service.