'It is still a star-based industry'
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'It is still a star-based industry'

Ghai believes that the film industry functions around a handful of actors.

india Updated: May 29, 2006 12:46 IST

Filmmaker Subhash Ghai, who has taken a break from direction and is concentrating on his production business, says the industry still thrives on big stars.

"It is still a star-based industry. Imagine 150 producers and 15 saleable actors," said Ghai who is planning to direct a multi-starrer next year.

Excerpts of the interview:

Your role as a producer seems to have for now overtaken your career as a director. Is that a voluntary decision?
Naturally. You have to go with whatever the times demand from you. Today I am responsible to Mukta Arts' investors' interests. We need to scale up production and we are planning to produce 20 movies in 2008.

Did the failure of Kisna - The Warrior Poet come in the way of you directing another film immediately? Are you planning to return to direction in the near future?
No, it definitely did not discourage me. I know audiences all over and media are looking forward to a film directed by me because they respect me as a director first. But I will direct my film only after completing my present commitments to Whistling Woods International Film School, which is scheduled to open on July 15.

Subhash Ghai is planning to direct a multi-starrer next year.

What kind of film will you direct?

I may launch a multi-starrer next year. I can't reveal anything about the cast and the story at this moment.

Your last production Shaadi Se Pehle wasn't the success it was meant to be. Do you think there has been a glut of comedies lately?
Shaadi Se Pehle has been a successful venture for Mukta Arts... There is always a difference between reality and perception. The fact is that we all have earned profit.

What do you think of the films that are being released these days? Do you think the multiplex culture has engendered a kind of self-indulgent innovativeness among filmmakers?
Huge revenues in multiplexes in the first week have definitely put pressure on the innovative minds of writers, directors and producers to match the demands of new audiences.

Iqbal and Joggers' Park would have not been a success in 1996 if they had to be released in single theatres. They have been successful in multiplexes.

On the one hand you have produced innovative films like Iqbal and Jogger's Park. On the other you've done formula fares like Shaadi Se Pehle. What are your aspirations as a producer? I respect every kind of cinema but we do need to be sure about our targeted audience. We have our company Searchlight Films to thank for making good cinema and Mukta Arts Entertainment for commercial popular cinema.

Tell us about your forthcoming productions?
This year you will see three other movies... Apna Sapna Money Money, Good Boy Bad Boy and Rasta Pyaar Ka and we are going to launch another five films on Oct 24.

Is it true that Mallika Sherawat gave you a tough time? Do you think stars are still being given too much importance in our film industry?
Yes, it is still a star-based industry. Imagine 150 producers and 15 saleable actors! The problem is we are totally ignorant of the definition of a star. Even rising or small-time actors are treated as stars by media. Right now 80 percent of the popular actors have yet to win the title of a star.

According to me, a star is someone who shines above the script and wins the hearts of audiences in a theatre irrespective of average story or director. People like to watch him more than the story because he is too believable and adorable for the audiences.

So, who according to you are the stars?
At this point of time this title can go only to Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh, Aamir and Salman. Hrithik (Roshan) and Saif (Ali Khan) find a respectable place as stars when their movie is good.

For me the committed actors who respect their projects are real star actors and they will survive in the rat race. The rest are chaos.

You have been an integral part of the film industry for decades. Do you think we have made enough headway abroad? Is the crossover cinema a reality or just a myth invented by us to feel important in the global market?
Crossover cinema is not a reality but just a myth fostered by the Indian media... But I believe crossover will become reality within next five years.

In 2011, you will see this myth of crossover turning into reality. Not before that. At the moment not even two percent of our great successful movies create an impact in the international market.

What do you think of NRI directors like Mira Nair, Deepa Mehta and Gurinder Chadha?
They are Indians who understand the international sensibilities and use it while telling Indian stories. They are brilliant.

First Published: May 28, 2006 10:00 IST