Ravi Chopra’s Baghban released on October 3, 2003 is incontrovertibly the most influential film of Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini’s career. It changed the way Indian families looked at the elderly and revised the younger generations’ attitude towards their parents.
Before Ravi Chopra, his father the great B R Chopra lived with the idea of making Baghban for twenty years. The film was planned originally with Dilip Kumar .But by the time Ravi Chopra got down to making it Dilip Saab was too old to play a 60-year old man.
Shah Rukh Khan was supposed to play Mr Bachchan’s son in Ravi Chopra’s Baghban. When he backed out because of his back problem, Salman sportingly stepped in.
During the shooting of Baghban Bachchan Saab was full of praise for Salman. “Salman is God’s child.Very misunderstood, but has a heart of gold. Like Sanju ( Dutt) Salman has a penchant for getting into trouble. But he means well, and is extremely kind- hearted.” So will the real Salman Khan please stand up? Is he an enfant terrible or a restless child with a heart of gold? Salman often says and does things which he doesn’t mean. His naked aversion to the press doesn’t add to his popularity.”
Says Hema Malini who turns 75 this month, “Baghban was, one of the most important films of my career. It addressed the relationship between parents and children. I’ve seldom received as much feedback and praise for a film as I did for Baghban.It was the kind of rare cinema that changed lives. Even if Raviji had not made any other film, he would still be remembered for this one forever. It is sad that he had to go so early. He was very unwell in his last years.
Ravi Chopra who had done Zameer, Baghban and then Baabul with Mr Bachchan for early next year. Planned a fourth film titled Pickpocket with Mr B was to play the victim of a pickpocket’s designs.
Alas, God had other designs.