Sunday, October 4, 2015

Subhash Ghai: 'Acting is a fake profession.'

I recently had the opportunity to listen to the showman of Bollywood - Subhash Ghai. The event was organised by Jagran Film Festival. Although, I'm always keen to attend such festivals both literature and cinema, however I often don't manage to make it. This time the push factor was that I'd be meeting my old friend from Delhi.

Kunal would work with me at NDTV between 2011 to 2012, and his practicality on life merges with my philosophical meddling in the social affair of humankind. The result: he spoke, perhaps more than what people hear from him in days. Sometimes, it's fun to move a friendship forward through years of our lives.

'There is nothing that I'll say, which you already don't know,' said Subhash Ghai as soon as he walked in the auditorium. He was dressed in a loose yellow cotton shirt, stitched in an old fashioned style - just the way your grand father got his shirts done. A blue trouser teamed with a blue jacket. His trousers were hemmed at the bottom, and the thick thread that was used was clearly visibly. He was clean shaven, and the skin on his arms were loose, almost hanging. He had a perfectly round stomach, on which his shirt arose, ascending from his collars. I thought of a small round earthen pot that my mother would keep at home to store water long time ago.

A movie maker must know all three essentials that make up a movie: 'art, technology and cinema'. He spoke about movie making and said, 'train kaise bhi chal padhti hai,' but what is important is to make an 'ideal train'. We come across people who decide for themselves that they'd want to be in Bollywood without understanding what their true potential is, his opinion is that these people must question themselves as to what pushed them to take this decision. Is it like 'kal ya parson ka dream,' or truly they've done a reality check on themselves.

Talking about himself, he was frank about his growing up days. Born to a dentist, he was not allowed to watch movies, sing or dance. His father had sent him to a hostel to pursue a B.Com course, and he got the opportunity there to pursue drama. He created a drama society, which got the college an award they had never dreamt of. Though short in attendance, after much requests from the faculty, the principal made an exclusive arrangement for him to write his papers. His father who had wanted him to be a CA, showed him the FTII pune way upon realising his interests in cinema.

Ritvik Ghatak was his mentor, and he believes that he was better in certain areas of film making than Satyaji Ray. However Ritvik didn't have good communication skills; he lacked the communication required to explain his art.

A coordinator from the festival team serves him a cup of coffee, 'thank you yaar, aap khatir bhi karte hai,' he smiled and commented.

Bombay Times gives him complex, and he doesn't find any reason that stars should frequent 'Comedy Nights with Kapil Sharma'. He opined that movies will sell if they deserve, to support his point he spoke about Queen, which was a short budget movie. He struggled in acting for a few years after graduating from FTII. 'Woh itna mota make up lagate the,' using his fingers to express, 'aur mujhe dhoop mein khade kar dete the.' Since dialogues, script, camera work, make up, and almost everything is done by other people, he often wondered what an actor's role is. He says that, 'Acting is a fake profession.' Lastly he shared how accidentally he became a director. A story of the movie 'Kalicharan', which he had written and was rejected by several directors was taken up by N. N. Sippy. Since the movie had been rejected by so many, and Subhash knew it would not reach any director's table; he, on the spur of the moment, told Sippy that he'd do the direction. Subsequently he got the approval. 'Malabar hill se Bandra tak barah minute mein drive kiya,' he expressed how excited he was. Sippy didn't tell him about his decision to take him in as a director, he introduced him to his friends as his new movie's director. Subhash was so excited that he had drunk several glasses of alcohol before he reached Bandra to inform his wife. But his wife asked him to sleep, as she didn't think this would result in anything.


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Faraz Salat

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Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Admirer of all things that make up a global human society.