'If Kaanchi doesn't resemble your generation, you can say Mr Ghai you have lost it'
‘Some films work and some films don’t work. But people should respect a Subhash Ghai film.’
This Friday, Subhash Ghai gives us Kaanchi.
After a five-year gap, Subhash Ghai returns to direction with Kaanchi.
The 69-year-old director claims he has made the film for the younger generation, and it is about the problems they face.
In this chat with Patcy N, he tells us why YOU must watch Kaanchi.
Over to Ghai:
I joined the movie industry 46 years ago. You can say that I belong to the past or the old school; you can call me a veteran and a legend because your parents watched my films.
So you may well ask: Why should we watch your films?
You can watch my films on television, so why should you go to the theatre?
In my defence, I would like to say something. I am a writer and a director. I wrote a story of a young girl of 20 named Kaanchi who belongs to 2014.
You have to watch the film to see how I have made the story and whether this 20-year-old resembles your generation or not.
If you feel this girl doesn’t resemble your generation and your problems are not like hers, then you can say, Mr Ghai you have lost it.
This film is about your problems, your values, and your forward-looking school of thought.
I am surrounded by youngsters all the time. When I made Kalicharan, Shatrughan Sinha and Reena Roy were young.
Today, Madhuri (Dixit) is 46, but she was 21 when she worked with me in Khalnayak.
Ash (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) is 40 today but she was 25 when she worked in Taal. So, I have always worked with youngsters.
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Image: Subhash Ghai with Mishti and Kartik
Photographs: Abhijit Mhamunkar
'My characters are larger than life and that is why my films are watched again and again even today'
I have made Kaanchi in a theatrical way because that is my style.
I may not have abusive language in my movie; I may not have a bedroom sex scene in the movie because I belong to another era.
It is easy to make films if you have a very good story. But if you make it on a bigger scale you must have a crew that is the best, whether it is in photography or editing.
My characters are larger than life and that is why my films are watched again and again even today.
Image: Mishti, Kartik Tiwari and Subhash Ghai on the sets from Kaanchi
'I cannot make a realistic film'
Rakesh Roshan, David Dhawan and I belong to the same era. We are all adopting the latest technology, we are telling the story in our own way but we are picking the characters of today.
At the same time, we are not making realistic movies which are accepted by today’s generation.
I love the recent movies that were made like Queen and The Lunchbox. They are brilliant because the filmmakers are speaking their own language.
I am sure they cannot make a fantasy film, like I cannot make a realistic film.
I respect other filmmakers’ cinema and likewise they should respect my art too. For me, cinema is Gladiator or Avatar.
I have evolved as a director from my first film, Kaalicharan, to Kaanchi today.
Image: Shatrughan Sinha in Kalicharan
'To take a newcomer is a huge task'
Kaanchi is a beautiful love story. It is a fairy tale which has drama, melodrama and patriotism. It is a film that will touch your heart.
Kaanchi is a rural girl who comes to the city with no money. She works as a sweeper and servant. She fights back and goes back to her village as a winner.
I select all my actors on the basis of what they look like. Every face has a character, and then you mould and groom the actor into the character and present her.
Mishti was the right face and right height and energy to play Kaanchi.
To take a newcomer is a huge task; it is five times more hard work than working with known stars. Stars are professionals. They understand their scenes and do it and go away.
But you have to groom and inspire new actors. You have to lecture them, polish them, and the money spent on them is more.
The film could have been made in 75 days but I made it in 120 days -- just imagine the cost involved in shooting for that many more days.
Image: Mishti in Kaanchi
'If there is a big star, my film would have bigger coverage'
People from my office read the script and said we should cast a big star. I knew any star would do it. But I went over the script again and again and every time my script commanded me to take a fresh face for Kaanchi’s role.
An established actor would come with the baggage of her item songs and her other roles and she would have to adapt to play a simple and naïve character.
Katrina (Kaif), Kareena (Kapoor) and Vidya (Balan) are my friends. I could have gone to any one of them and they would have done it as it is a title role and good story.
If there is a big star, my film would have bigger coverage. The media and friends would come in big numbers, but for small stars no one comes.
But you have to take challenges with newcomers if the script demands it. I did that in Hero when I took Jackie Shroff and Meenakshi Sheshadri.
For Pardes, I took Mahima Chaudhry though everyone from my team told me to take Madhuri Dixit. Just imagine for a minute how it would be if Madhuri had played the role of Ganga in Pardes.
Some films work and some films don’t work. But people respect a Subhash Ghai film.
Image: Mahima Chaudhry in Kaanchi
'My best friend is my 10-year-old daughter'
My best friend is my 10-year-old daughter. She is of the I-pad generation. She calls me Hey man! We talk on twitter or Whatsapp.
She is becoming my teacher; she teaches me things.
She knows I am her father so she can’t criticise as she does with other films. She tries to encourage me by saying it is fabulous work.
My elder daughter Meghna is handling Whistling Woods and the education side of it and is more into management while my younger daughter Muskaan is more into the creative side. She loves painting and music.
At this age, my work and movies keep me going.
Image: Subhash Ghai with wife Rehana and daughters Meghana and Muskaan