Filmmaker Subhash Ghai, who has been asked to give up the land on which his film school Whistling Woods International stands in Film City, Goregaon, on Wednesday said that he had no political connections.
On April 4, the Supreme Court had asked Ghai to return the 20-acre land to the state government and had also come down heavily on former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, saying that no one could be treated as a “blue-eyed boy” of the government.
“I have no political connections. I am interested in imparting education. Our focus is to spread knowledge. We are not part of politics or anything of that sort. I have no knowledge of what happens in the world of politics, I have no connections with it,” Ghai said on the sidelines of a press conference.
Ghai added that he would keep Whistling Woods International alive, and hinted that he would go to any part of the country to do so.
Ghai claimed that blind faith in the assurances of the Maharashtra government on the legalities related to the film school had led him into trouble. “In 2000, the government told me that no bidding was necessary for using the land since it was a partnership model. In 2003, they informed us that questions were being raised about the undervaluing of land, and asked us to shift to a lease model. Since the building had already been constructed, we had to agree,” Ghai said.
In 2000, the state government had allotted 20 acres of land for the film school within the Film City area of Goregaon under a joint venture at Rs3 crore. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India had, however, had valued the rate of the land at Rs31 crore.
Members of the film industry came out in support of Ghai. “Such educational institutes should be encouraged to prosper,” said actor Shabana Azmi. “I hope the institute doesn’t wither away due to legalities,” said filmmaker Govind Nihalani.