Bollywood’s showman Subhash Ghai, is known for producing larger than life Hindi films like Hero, Karma Khalnayak, and Taal. He has, for the first time, forayed into South India cinema. He is producing his protégé Hemanth Hegde’s Kannada film Nimbehuli. Ghai was in town recently to talk about his first production. Here are some excerpts from an exclusive interview with Chakpak.
It was really surprising when the news broke out that Subhash Ghai is producing a film in Kannada. How did this come about?
Hemanth has worked for me in my Mukta Arts banner and I am very impressed by his talent. He brought me this story and I found that there was substantial stuff in the film. It’s a comedy of errors with some unique elements. I saw the rough version today and I am confident that it will be a hit.
Tell us something about your association with Bangalore
Bangalore, particularly The West End hotel is my favorite place. Whenever I am depressed or want to write a film, I fly over to Bangalore and write my scripts here. My Hero and Ram Lakhan were born here. I have also shot for Khalnayak, Pardes, Meri Jung and Krodhi here.
Looks like your training institute, Whistling Woods, is keeping you away from direction
Nothing like that. I will do a film soon. Meanwhile, I am happy to say that Whistling Woods has become the pride of the nation. 500 students have graduated from the institute and are placed in the industry. 95 per cent of them are well placed. The whole idea was to train students on cinema and create a platform for them. There were many studios earlier, but there were no cinema schools that train or make a platform for strugglers. I, being a struggler myself, wanted to do something for them and that’s how the institute happened. I think India needs at least another 100 cinema schools in the coming days.
Don’t you think though many schools have cropped all over India, the success rate of films is quite the same when compared to earlier times?
The success rate has nothing to do with it. Not only the film industry, if you take all over, the success rate of any industry comes up to only 10 per cent. Whether it is a lawyer, an engineer or a journalist, the success rate is only 10 per cent. I think it is because of our education system. We depend more on memory based education rather than skill based education. We must switch to the latter. Students must be made to speak more than the teacher. But here, teachers are speaking more than the students. That’s the whole problem.
You being a great director yourself, which other director’s work do you like the most?
That’s one thing which is very difficult to answer. Cinema is a democratic art and not a formula. Every person can tell his own story. When you take the 1960s, directors like V Shantaram, Raj Kapoor, Gurudutt were making different kind of cinema. It is very difficult to choose who is better amongst them. First we have to learn to respect others. Liking Sathyajith Ray is no reason to disrespect Manmohan Desai.