'I came from Kashmir where I had grown up with mountains, snow peaks and beautiful lakes.'
'And suddenly I saw traffic and gangsters and goons.'
'For me, that was fascinating. And I wanted to capture that Bombay.'
When a young man from Srinagar landed in Mumbai, he was captivated by the glimpse of birds in flight at the famous Kabutarkhana in the city's Dadar area and that's how Parinda, which completes 30 years on Sunday, was born.
Director Vidhu Vinod Chopra still remembers the impression it had on him. "It was a sight for me to behold. I was in awe of the pigeons taking off... That stayed as an image with me so much so that I wrote a film around it," Chopra told PTI in an interview.
The film, starring Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit Nene, Nana Patekar and Jackie Shroff, is a gangster drama set against the backdrop of the megapolis that Mumbai is, but, at its heart, is a delicate story about the bond between two brothers, partly inspired by Chopra's own relationship with his brother Vir.
Parinda revolves around Kishan (Shroff), who works for the underworld don Anna (Patekar). Kishan's brother Karan (Kapoor) returns home after completing studies in the US. The brothers are at loggerheads after Karan decides to avenge his friend's murder, orchestrated by Anna.
There were many a roadblock along the way, but the director said they came as a blessing in disguise for his second film, which he was determined to make into a commercial success.
"There were hiccups galore. Try making a film in Rs 12 lakh... The journey of Parinda has been full of memories but the most conspicuous memory would be how we brought together the entire film in a mere budget of 12 lakh."
"From locations to costumes, everything was kept as close to reality as possible to save money and yet no compromise at any level. Thus our biggest handicap became our biggest asset, because we ended up making a really authentic film," Chopra, 67, said.
The 1989 film is unique in the way it frames Mumbai, which has been a muse for many film-makers down the years. Chopra has used the city as an important character in the movie which is why it is not surprising that recce went on for a year.
"I came from Kashmir where I had grown up with mountains, snow peaks and beautiful lakes. And suddenly I saw traffic and gangsters and goons. For me, that was fascinating. And I wanted to capture that Bombay."
"One of my assistants Yogesh was from Bombay who, for almost a year, kept scouting locations for us. I still remember the first time I saw Marine Drive. I was 17 or 18 and I was fascinated by the sight of so many cars existing in one place. There was no train in Kashmir, so for me, even trains were fascinating. Parinda is really a vision of a villager from Kashmir and his perception of this mega city," Chopra said.
After helming 2015's Broken Horses, which is the English remake of Parinda, producing duties took over for Chopra. The film-maker admitted that laziness is one of the contributing factors to his absence as a director.
"For me to take on a project, the story really needs to excite me. And that didn't happen for a while. But I am very excited about Shikara," he said.
Shikara, which is Chopra's second film set in his hometown after Mission Kashmir, is dedicated to his mother.
The film will revolve around the plight of Kashmiri Pandits and is slated to be released on February 21, he said.
"Shikara, my latest film, deals with the struggles of the Kashmiri Pandits, and my family during the exodus from Kashmir, which is a part and parcel of who I am today. Basically I'm a refugee in my own country, like many other Kashmiris. That's why I've dedicated Shikara to my mother."
The trailer of the film will be released on January 19, marking 30 years of the Kashmiri Pandits exodus that took place in the Valley.
"It will be released on February 21 on the occasion of Mahashivratri which is a major festival for Kashmiri Pandits. I hope the film spreads love in the time of hate," he added.
Chopra, best known for backing films such as the Munnabhai series, 3 Idiots and PK, said he plans to direct many more films in the future.
"Cinema is a constant journey. And through all your films, you reflect your inner self. If your inner self goes corrupt, it shows in your cinema. If you retain the child within you, it shows in your cinema.
"When I look back at the Vidhu Vinod Chopra who directed Parinda and the Vidhu Vinod Chopra today, I feel he still resides within me, very much. And that's a nice feeling," the director said.