Filmmaker Subhash Ghai is terribly angry and hurt. Reacting to the Supreme Court upholding the Bombay High Court order quashing the 20 acre land allotted to his film school Whistling Woods International in Film city, Mumbai, he says, “I am very hurt. I feel that my dedication has been abused. My students are depressed, hurt and angry because their career is at stake.”
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court had pulled up former Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh for giving 20 acres of land to Ghai in 2004 for his film institute. The court said: “One cannot be treated as a blue-eyed boy for whom rules can be bent or bypassed to give away land of the state.”
Ghai defends: “People are viewing this as some sort of a scam. If I had been a blue-eyed boy, I would have set up a multiplex or a mall. Why would I open a school? A blue-eyed boy should be worth Rs 2,000 crore, and not running into losses. Everyone had warned me saying it is a risky proposal ... nuksaan hoga, but I did it,” he says.
Ghai also trashes rumours that favours were exchanged between him and Deshmukh, including his 2006 film, Apna Sapna Money Money Money, starring Deshmukh’s son, Riteish Deshmukh.
“Unka beta hero bana tha 2000 mein. I cast him in 2006 ... I have been victimised in this political crossfire. All political leaders, policy makers and the government concerned should have told me to stop and relocate in 2000. Why did they have to wait 10 years for this?”
On his equation with Deshmukh, he says, “Maine ek paise ka bhi dhanda nahi kiya hai in logon ke saath. They are friends just as they’re friends of Yash Raj or Ashutosh Gowariker.” The filmmaker says he has learnt his lesson: “The incoming government undoes what the last government had done.”
As per the high court order, Ghai was required to pay the market rent at an annual rate of Rs 5.3 crore for the 20-acre land from 2000 — retrospectively. His total financial losses would thus be Rs 105 crore, inclusive of the Rs 45-crore loss that the institute has run into. The land was allotted to him after a joint venture between his film studio, Mukta Arts, and the Maharashtra Film, Stage and Cultural Development Corporation.
Do you think Subhash Ghai is being victimised? Tell us at www.facebook.com/htcity