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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

In search of lost glory

Usmeet Kaur, Hindustan Times   December 01, 2012
First Published: 11:41 IST(1/12/2012) | Last Updated: 11:42 IST(1/12/2012)

In his 35-year-long career in the Hindi film industry, Subhash Ghai got a taste of both garlands and brickbats. However, recently, the maker of hit films such as Saudagar (1992), Pardes (1997) and Taal (1999), Ghai made news for all the wrong reasons.

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Refuting these and offering a glorious future, Ghai talked about his reason for coming to Chandigarh on Friday, where he parked himself at Hotel KC Royal Park, Sector 3, Panchkula.

Portraying a confident man’s image, he said, “Out of the 18 films that I have made so far, 14 worked; so, I pass with distinction.” 

In City Beautiful to look for his film’s protagonist, Kaanchi (also his upcoming film’s name, that already has a release date: August 15, 2013), Ghai shared his immaculate plans of ‘selecting a new face from INIFD (Inter National Institute of Fashion Design), Sector 8, on December 1 and 2’.

However, the reason for the director’s visit seems to evoke a sense of déjà vu. Didn’t he, some years ago, choose a city girl who was later never seen on screen?

“I do not turn any girl or a guy into a superstar. It is just how beautifully I write about my characters and how well they fit in. If a new face becomes a superstar overnight, it is because the character was written well and nothing else,” he says on a different tangent.

Ghai has to his credit some notable films such as Kalicharan, Karz, Hero, Meri Jung, Karma, Ram Lakhan and Khalnayak.

For Kaanchi, a story of a girl from the mountains, Ghai says he could have asked actors such as Katrina Kaif or Kareena Kapoor to act. “Mere bachche hain yeh...(they are like my children). But I preferred a new face with traits that I am looking for in Kaanchi. I know people say I do not take 100-crore-club stars in my film. But my script is my star. If the actor doesn’t suit my script, I don’t approach him or her,” he offers, adding, “For Pardes, Madhuri Dixit was keen to do Ganga’s role. But the character demanded a new face and Madhuri understood. That’s when Mahima Choudhary came in.”

In an era of ‘realistic cinema’, where does his larger-than-life cinema find a place? “In today’s times, we have 5,000 screens in India and all kinds of cinema is received well,” he says with optimism. 

On allegations of indulging in ‘casting couch’, Ghai prefers to smile. “This allegation does not affect me at all; it’s a part of the profession that I am in. The way politicians have learnt to live with the tag of being corrupt even if they are not, similarly, filmmakers learn to smile when gossip is created.”

As if one controversy weren’t enough, Ghai’s film academy, Whistling Woods, located in Filmcity, Goregaon, has also run into trouble. “My institution has truth and it has been rated amongst the top 10 film schools of the world. I am not guilty in this court case; it would be solved eventually.”

In such times, Ghai’s ‘passion’ for writing and making movies sees him through.  “One life isn’t enough for narrating all my stories,” he says.

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