“Media is like a mirror, it reflects both merits and flaws” says music-savvy, showman Subhash Ghai known for his Hitchcockian cameos
Even as ‘showman’ Subhash Ghai’s illustrious movie-banner Mukta Arts recently celebrated its 42nd anniversary, we jog into memory lane to recall interesting anecdotes. While most film-makers are very sensitive to negative criticism and feel offended when their events and movies are panned and criticized, I realised that producer-director Subhash Ghai was comparatively a large-hearted Aquarian personality who took criticism in his humble stride.
Many years later after I had known him, at a private late-night personal filmy party I casually asked Mr Ghai, what was the secret that he very rarely over–reacted to negative criticism With his charismatic smile, he explained his logical funda.
Replied Subhash, “ Good you asked me this question Mr Chaitanya. For me the press and media is more like a ‘mirror’ which reflects our faults, flaws and also highlights our achievements and excellence in creativity.
It is the media which has given me the glorious title of ‘showman’. . As long as the criticism is constructive and not biased and not prejudiced, I humbly accept the honest verdict of the press-media. Just as all actors look into the mirror to check any flaws in their facial ‘make-up’ before giving their shots, the same way, we get to know our shortcomings thru media reviews and columns,” explained the articulate Ghai.
The first time I was officially introduced to Subhash Ghai was at the star-studded premiere of his directorial movie ‘Hero’ at the ( now defunct) Ganga-Jamuna twin theatres ( in central Mumbai) by none other than the ‘macho hero’ himself –affable Jackie (Bhidu) Shroff .
Enthuses Jackie, “ Gutsy Subhash–jee is not just my mentor-godfather who launched me, he is also like a real-life father-figure for me and I always hold him in high emotional esteem.” Thereafter I used to meet frequently at muhurats, recordings, trailer-previews and success-parties and even at location-shoots..
Once when I asked Subhash Ghai about his Hitchcock-ian cameo appearances in most of his movies, he initally laughed , “As a student of world cinema I have always admired Alfred Hitchcock for his slick amazing suspense films. Having completed my acting and film-making course with all my efforts and investing money, from the prestigious FTII-Pune, I got into acting and played lead and supporting roles. But success seemed to be evading me, even after multiple attempts in various movies including Atmaram-jee’s Umang’.
Later on, when I diversified into direction with movies like Kallicharan and Vishwanath (where my competent close-friend-iconic mega-star- actor Shatrughan Sinha was such a huge support as part of the lead cast) I felt that I should also make cameo-appearances in future in my own productions. Because essential I am an actor-turned-director. It’s just like my visual on-screen autograph .
My ardent fans always recognized me and they would applaud when I made my brief screen-appearances in several movies like ‘Hero’ or in ‘Taal’. The actor is me will always remain alive and kicking,” laughed Ghai.
Speaking about multi-faceted ‘showman’ Subhash Ghai’s marvelous music-sense, all composers and music directors right from Kalyanji Anandji to A R Rahman and from Nadeem Sharavan to Laxmikan Pyarelal have all lavishly praised Ghai.whose movies are known for their chartbuster songs and fabulous picturisations.
Recalls iconic composer-arranger Pyarelal–jee, Subhash-jee’s knowledge of folk-music and western music and musical instruments and approval of tunes at ‘sittings’ , his valuable inputs and while approving the ‘prelude-interlude arrangements’ and yet giving creative freedom to improvise is commendable.
It was always a pleasure to work with Subhash Ghai with whom we composed for such a variety of diverse subjects whether it is Hero, Khalnayak, Ram Lakhan or the western-modern music-centric ‘Karz’.
Like for instance in the song ‘One Two Ka Four—my name is Lakhhan , the song starts with rhythmic chorus and vigorous rhythmic folk-music rhythm beats . In contrast check how he approved the classical-raga based ‘O Ram-jee Bada Dukh Deena’ or the disco-beats super-hit song ‘Om Shanti Om’ from ‘Karz’ or the flute-melody-theme of ‘Hero’ which is so evergreen,” explains Pyarelal.