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Art is not a luxury, but a necessity.



If you don’t believe that God has a hand in the success of a man or a woman, come walk with me as I journey through the amazing success story of a man called subhash Ghai….  – ALI PETER JOHN

Subhash Ghai a young and handsome man from a middle class family in New Delhi joined the FTII in Poona to do an acting course, but ended up as one of the most successful writers in directions of Indian films.

He had failed as an actor, but had not lost hope in his talent and his unflinching faith in God.

The first time I saw him at the Natraj Studio, he was the hero of a film called Umang being made by Atma Ram, who was the younger brother of Guru Dutt, and he was paid a monthly salary of Rs 650/-, with a first class season ticket between Andheri and Churchgate and a small room in Atma Ram’s bungalow in juhu.

“Umang” was a very big flop and so were his other films as a hero, till he played a parallel role in Shakti Samanta’s “Aradhana” which made an unknown Rajesh Khanna a super star and made Subash Ghai realize that he was not cut out to be an actor in films.

And all the time he kept flopping and falling all over the place, he kept his faith in God intact.

It was this faith in God that made him take to writing scripts (he had written a ninty page thesis on the acting of Dilip Kumar when he was at the FTII).

He wrote the scripts for the some films of Prakash Mehra and the first big hit he directed, “Kalicharan” was based on his own script and then the God he kept praying to made sure that he was mostly associated with hits, films made on a wide variety of subjects and made with the same plan, passion and purpose.

By the time Subhash Ghai had made his tenth film under his banner of Mukta Arts, he was known as the showman of India and after a few films more, he was the founder of Whistling Woods international, one of the ten best films schools in the world.

And if anyone thought that the pandemic would keep him down, they didn’t want to know what stuff this showman was made of.

He had written several scripts. He had taken to writing poetry and had launched and completed a film and made plans to start three new films in the nearer future.

And while younger stars and film makers were still scared of setting out of their homes, the showman was out in the battle field all set to fight a new set of wars which only he knew how to fight and win…

It was while SG was in this state of mind at Seventy plus that I hesitated to approach him to release my twentieth book, Witnessing Wonder (he had released six of my earlier books).

I was prepared to take a NO from him, but he was not prepared to let down a friend.

He just asked me a few questions about the venue and he was there in time or even before time and he kept moving around the venue, looking for the venue, that is what has been happening to many of us who have been cooped up in our homes for months and even years.

SG walked in like the star-king he is even as two of his best songs were being sung by Santosh Subramanian (Ek Ritu Aaye Ek ritu Jaye from Gautam Govinda) and (Ek Haseena Thi from Karz sung by Satish Nair and Sonam Dharod).

And the impact of the songs (or was it the singers ?) must have left the showman in a daze to stay on and listen to the entire songs, go into a flashback and even make a speech, when he had made it clear that he would not be able to be at the function for more than twenty minutes.

He made a spirited speech about how he had conceived and picturised the two songs he heard and he didn’t forget to mention the part I have played in his growth and the growth of many others in the industry during the last fifty years. How many times should I thank you, Mr. Showman?

The showman had two important meetings at WWI and he left, but his inspiration and intoxication lasted till the very end as singer after singer breathed life into the songs they sang.

For the second time in two Soulful Saturdays, my souls sang out for Aparna Dhongekar and I can see a very bright future for her in the Sundays, Saturdays, Months and years to come.

I dislike making comparisions when it comes to creative talent, but I hope the talented team of Soulful Saturdays understands me when I say that they were very good, otherwise why should I, a seventy two year old genuinely old man sit through five hours of soulful singing and get more and more addicted to voices which have more nasha than the nasha I use to have when I was a younger man and could get drunk even by looking into the deep, dark and mysterious eyes of beautiful girls and women who were all fairies and Parees for me.

So, here goes one more special vote of thanks from a Japanese called Ali Peter John to all the other singers, O Subbu, O Neeraj, O Umesh, O Kumar, O Pervin, O Vanita, O Shraddha, O Prakash, O Nikhil, O Namrata, O Heena, O Pragati, O O Madhu, O Sachin, O Bipin ….

And as I was seeing off the Showman one more time in our long friendship, he pomped my hand and said, “Aisa programme mein aane ke liye waqt nikalna chahiye hum logon ko, lekin hum logon ke paas waqt kahan hai?) and I told my big, big friend “waqt ko intezaar hai aap jaise logon ki lekin app logon ke paas sub kuch hai, lekin waqt nahi hai).

I hope my big, big friend and all his big, big friends understand what I said on that Soulful Sunday morning.