Filmmaker Subhash Ghai's dream project Whistling Woods has run into rough weather.
As per the judiciary orders, 14.5 acres that are currently vacant will be handed back immediately to the government, the balance 5.5 acres that are in use are to be given back in 2014 so that students currently enrolled can complete their courses. "I am grateful that they did not decide to shut it now and let the 400 students complete their education," says Ghai.
He continues, "I am pained and hurt. People are not willing to share my vision to have a better tomorrow and help the next generation of filmmakers. Hundreds of newcomers would come to me saying that they don't have a godfather and I wondered how many films I can make in my career. Hence I decided to establish this institute."
Commenting on the judiciary's view that Ghai has been given preference and benefit over other 'great' and 'talented' filmmakers, and that the filmmaker should participate in a bidding process for the land, Ghai asserts, "Why are they calling me the blue-eyed boy of Vilas Rao Deshmukh, I have my own entity as a filmmaker, I am a senior member of the fraternity. Had I wanted to take advantage, I would have asked land for multiplexes, I wouldn't have taken the risk of starting a film school. I am paying Rs five crore every year to run the school, and suddenly these orders..."
He continues, "Today one can claim that other filmmakers can also start an institute but in 1999 no filmmaker had the capacity or was interested in opening a film institute. Yash Chopra and Vijay Anand had come for the inauguration and they said that I had achieved what nobody in the industry could. I travelled 22 countries in the world to pick up their curriculum and syllabus... I did research and translated it into Hindi syllabus for our students."
As for now, the showman has decided to take the next step after discussing with the board of directors and their team of lawyers. "Supreme Court has dismissed our appeal and have asked us to settle with the High Court. So we go back to the High Court. We are not interested in 20 acres of land, we want to save the institute as we have already invested Rs 75 crore in it," says Ghai, who has plans of opening film institutes in other States like Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Gujarat.
Updated at: 11 December 2013
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Updated at: 11 December 2013
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