The first batch of Whistling Woods International has yet to complete its first term and Subhash Ghai has moved on to tie up with some of the best film schools internationally.
The first step he has taken in that direction is by signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Crown Princess of Norway Mette Marit at Hilton Towers on Monday afternoon.
Crown Prince Haakon of Norway was also present for the signing of the MoU. This was followed by a round table conference where Norwegian filmmakers interacted with some of their Indian counterparts that included Ravi Chopra, Boney Kapoor, Ashok Ghai, Rahul Rawail, Nikhil Panchammiya among others.
The Norwegian Princess started the conference with her speech talking highly about the Indian film industry. “India is a big producer of films — over a thousand per year — something we can only dream about as we produce only about twenty films annually. There’s a lot we can offer each other and benefit from the alliance. For example, Norway has some of the most ideal locations to film an Indian love story. We are all eager to take this association forward in the future,” she said.
“The idea behind the tie-up is to work together on many levels,” said Ghai, elaborating, “For starters, it’s a step ahead for students of WWI who will get to learn more about international cinema and expand their knowledge in the field. Norwegian Film Institute is one of the best schools in the world and we shall be tying up with other reputed film schools across the world. This association will also facilitate exchange of students, faculty, archive, in short everything about cinema. We will be inviting the faculty from the Norwegian Film Institute soon so our students can benefit from their knowledge and experience.”
Besides, this will also open another door for Indian cinema in the world of entertainment, business and economy, he observed.
Admitting that Norway is not a big market yet for Indian films, Ghai asserted, “In the last five years, Indian cinema is gradually expanding its market. Europe by itself is not a very big market for Indian cinema yet, but we’ve already begun making inroads there. Besides, Norwegian cinema has been making its presence felt in its own way in the world of entertainment, so it’s a strategic alliance for both sides.”
The admission process for the second batch of students at WWI is underway and Ghai is sure that the students at his institute will be able to benefit from this association soon.
The next immediate result of this association will be “Co-ventures, co-productions, shooting in each others’ locations, bridging the distance between us. At the same time, there’s a lot we can learn from each other,” said Ghai. The filmmaker, who recently announced seven films also informed, “Of the seven films, certainly one or two will be shot in Norway, which promises a lot of beautiful and picturesque locations for our films.”
The Norwegian film committee is also hosting a four day festival of their films for their Indian counterparts to familiarise them with their cinema, which would help the cause of both the film industries.