He Dared To Dream And His Dreams Were Only Too Glad To Come True For Him
(On occasion of the 12th Convocation ceremony of Subhash Ghai’s Whistling Woods International)
Ali Peter John
When the young Subhash Ghai left home more than 40 years ago, all he had was a handful of dreams and the will to fulfill them. Little did he know that there was a big tussle between dreams and realities in the world outside, little did he know that it sometimes took an entire lifetime to fulfill just one dream, but he still had his dreams close to his heart and walked with his faith in his will power which had made him a winner even when he was a school boy. He was aware of the difficulties he would have to face, but he was also aware that he would not give up easily and would certainly not let down his dreams.
His big dream to follow in the footsteps of his idol, Dilip Kumar had to take a biting in the face of the realities of life, but he decided not to give up and continued to pursue his passion to be an actor. This passion refused to yield result even when he tried to join the rat race in Bombay when films came to him only to leave him disillusioned. He was still not willing to give up his dreams. He took to writing films and tasted success in some small ways for a awhile and then took one big and unexpected leap when he turned a successful director with films like Kalicharan and “Vishwanath” and followed them with other big films like Krodhi, Gautam Govinda, Vidhaata and Meri Jung which established him as a director and made him forget the actor in him.
He had made quite a big name by now and was strong , secure and confidant enough to start his own banner, Mukta Arts and then began a saga of some of the most memorable Hindi films in the history of Hindi cinema, films like “Hero”, “Karz”, “Ram Lakhan”, “Karma”, “Saudagar”, which were all considered master pieces in main stream cinema and other films like “Kissna”, “Yuvraj” and Kaanchi” besides some smaller films which took the utter shock of his fans and followers bombed at the box office and Ghai showed first signs of slipping and losing hold on his dreams.
Ghai could have taken another direction and invested all the money he had made in some other and better business, but he confessed that he knew only one business and that was films and could only prove to be a big zero in any other kind of business. He looked lost most of the time those days, but it was only after a while that he let people know that there was a much bigger dream taking shape in his mind which never stopped dreaming. He had spotted a piece of land at Film city and he could already visualize a film school of his own on that rough patch of land. He knew it was going to be far more difficult than giving shape to a dream film, but he had made up his mind and there was just go going back.
Got in touch with the right? people in Mantralaya and did not rest till he got possession of exactly that piece of land on which he had set his eyes. He soon worked out plans with some of the best architects and designers from India and abroad and the foundation stone of Whistling Woods International was laid by his idol, Dilip Kumar in the presence of a huge gathering of celebrities.
Subhash Ghai, the film maker had now taken a break to spent all his time in giving shape to his dream school of film making and he was so clear of what he wanted his school to look like that it took him very little time to have his school standing like a pearl in the midst of the woods at Film City. If it was the showman Subhash Ghai, it couldn’t be just another ordinary school for cinema, it would have to be something extra ordinary and that is what it became when the last brick was placed according to the dreamer-showman’s plan. Whistling Woods International was complete a school for excellence in cinema with a great faculty, with courses in acting, writing, direction, dancing, music, fashion designing, animation digital and all that was the latest invention in technology to give cinema a better face and new life. Ghai said he would do anything and everything possible to make his school better than the best schools of cinema anywhere, whatever the price he would have to pay in term of money or otherwise.
However, all was not going to be well, like it happens in the case of some of the best dreams dreamt by the most ambitious and daring dreamer. Ghai had to face some serious legal hassles towards which bogged him down creatively and financially and he could neither make films that were of his standard and he could not even think of taking the Woods into the light BUT as was his nature, he was again not willing to give up as he knew that his intentions in doing all that he had done were noble and couldn’t be otherwise, especially it came to dealing with the lives of students. He got over the legal shackles around his neck and is now free to run his school with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences as the school’s active partner.
For the last 12 years, the annual congregation ceremony of the WWI has been one of the major events on the calendar of those who matter in the industry and even outside because the strength and the caliber of education imparted at WWI has made a very strong impact on all those who have heard of or visited WWI even once.
On Friday morning 24th January, which also marked the birthday of Subhash Ghai, more than 200 students of the Class of 2019flung their degree caps in the air as they walked out with their degrees and diplomas issued by the WWI to face the challenges of the world. Subhash Ghai who these days is focusing his energies more as an educationist and a spiritual person and social worker gave the students a talk on what being an alumni of WWI meant and hoped that they would carry on the same tradition.
A motivational speech was made by a highly qualified teacher and administrator from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences.
Of Of all the things he said , I personally liked what he told the students about respecting their parents and their mentors and teachers when they because something important in life and made it a point never to forget what they have taught them on the values they had instilled in them.
Like every year, WWI had Maestro Awards for life time contribution to cinema and life. Of course the first was presented to Salim Khan, the veteran writer and father of Salman Khan, Arbaaz Khan, Sohail Khan, Alpita Khan and Arpita Khan. The second to Padmashree Asha Parekh. It was a nice feeling to know that the young students some or may be a good enough idea of the contribution made by these two veterans at a time when young boys and girls of their age sometimes have the gumption of asking, “Guru Dutt ?”, “BalrajSahni ? who” and “Asha Parikh?” I would be happy to know that they would have gained this valuable information during their stay at Whistling Woods , where I am also sure, they must have learnt more more things about Indian Cinema and world cinema.
Generally, it is the one who has his birthday, who is flooded with gifts, but Subhash Ghai must have been a very happy birthday boy on Friday, January 24, when there were so many grateful students, teachers and parents who were only too willing to offer him gifts on his birthday or the change he had brought about in their lives by fulfilling his dreams and founding a dream school where some woods once stood from the times of Adam and Eve and where now stands the dream castle come school which will always be associated with Subhash Ghai and to a very large extent his sweet and highly qualified and efficient daughter, Meghna Ghai Puri, who has been managing the affairs of the school just like her father would have done it if he was in her place.
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