A very rare combination of success and simplicity is what the Showman of Indian Cinema Subhash Ghai all about. Donning almost all the hats be it director, producer, script-writer and actor with a small cameos in every film of his, Ghai has delivered some great films leaving an indelible imprint as a complete filmmaker.
And now, he is all set with Black&White which also marks Ghai"s comeback as a director after a span of nearly 7 years. The film stars his favourite actor, Anil Kapoor, along with Shefali Shah and his new discovery Anurag Sinha. We bring an interview with Subhash Ghai where he talks about Black&White.
So back to film direction again...
Well, an individual"s decision depends on what he feels is the need of the hour. Post Kisna, I felt the need of streamlining the faculty and curriculum of the next generation at The Whistling Woods Institute to whom I have given my precious seven years. In return, it gave me the sensibility of looking at the filmmaking not just a mere source of money minting, in other words what you call 'commercial success of the films", but also groomed me as a director and inculcated the very notion of making issue based films. And when I was very confident of picking up an issue of terrorism which Black&White talks about, only then did I make my mind to get back to direction.
What is Black&White all about?
Black&White means two different beliefs or two different thoughts. The story revolves around a terrorist who enters in the territory of Delhi with a mission and happens to meet this Hindu professor with a different identity. They get to know each other inside out which eventually creates and strengthens a strange bond between them. Things in the life of the terrorist unfold in such a way that it becomes too late for him to realize the mission for which he had come. Black&White highlights the emotional tie between the terrorist and the professor which is highly elevating. It also conveys the message for those who just believe in two colours that is 'white" (right) or 'black" (wrong) and fail to see the third colour 'grey" which encompasses all the other colours that make life beautiful.
Why did you choose Chandni Chowk as a prime location?
Well, I feel Chandni Chowk is the largest democracy, a representative of secular India where at the 3 miles radius one can see the four major landmarks Jama Masjid, Sheesh Gandh Gurudwara, Jain Mandir and Red Fort. People living together from past 15 years respect and acknowledge each other"s cultures and customs so well that I felt it was a perfect place to shoot for my film since it also spreads the message of living in harmony. In fact, Chandni Chowk was my first choice as a title of the film. However, considering the subject that it deals with, Black&White turned out to be the apt choice.
Are you satisfied with the way the film has shaped up?
Definitely, I would give full credit to the script of the film which did not let me make the kind of Cinema I have been making over the years. We made it a point to live up to the demands of the script which involved many risks like to rope in two newcomers and the absence of typical Bollywood masala. However, thankfully, things have changed in Bollywood. With the advent of multiplexes, our audience today welcomes any sort of cinema be it independent or mainstream. Earlier, I would make films keeping in mind the taste of the audience but this time I decided to satisfy my creative sensibilities and thus, attempted something which I have never done before.
You have worked with Anil Kapoor nearly after a span of seven years. What change did you see in him as an actor?
Anil is a great human being first of all. In fact, I feel despite not making films for some years, I have been in touch with everyone from Anil to Shah Rukh and Salman to Jackie. They are like a family. As far as the change in Anil as an actor is concerned, I feel he still possesses that star power to carry the entire film on his shoulders. This is my second intense film with him after Meri Jung. Audiences will get to witness a performance beyond description from Anil Kapoor. A pool of versatility, he is someone who will remain immortal as an actor.
What made you zero on Anurag Sinha?
I personally feel, today like any other professions say medicine or law, film industry needs educated filmmakers be it acting, direction, production or anything which concerns with filmmaking. Professionals are the need of the hour. I respect the rigorous training that students of FTII or institutes like Whistling Woods undergo to groom themselves to face competition in the industry rather than a student carrying a certificate of some six months course in some XYZ institute. Anurag Sinha was picked up from the bunch of pictures that were brought to me from FTII Pune. He who completely fitted in the bill came across to me as a very humble human being. It was a sheer delight working with such a great artist.
What do you have to say about the music of the film? Which is your favourite track?
Black&White is not an out an out musical drama but yes, has background music score composed by Sukhwinder Singh. I feel, lyrics are very important and music eventually falls in place with the nature of the lyrics. So, I briefed him about the theme of the film and what kind of music I perceived. Sukhwinder is a great singer and composer who has come up with something very refreshing having the tinch of semi-classical and sufiana melody in it. My favorite track is 'Mein Chala Kabhie Us Gali Kabhie Us Dagar".
Anurag shared with us some memorable moments like he and Anil forgot their dialogues during the shoot of one scene and you never got pissed of with him?
I don"t loose my temper so easily unless I find that actor is not giving his 100% to the scene. Human beings are bound to make mistakes, same goes for actors. I believe in giving full liberty to my actors while they are performing. They might take 15 to 20 takes for a particular shot to satisfy their level of perfection that they already perceive in their mind. So, I have been very supportive in that sense. But what gets on to my nerves is the lack of honesty while performing. And, also who in order to safeguard themselves try to play politics and put blames on others.
This is for the first that you are working with Shefali. Why Shefali and not some other female actor you have worked earlier?
Anil recommended Shefali"s name for this extremely intricate role of a woman activist who also plays the better half of Anil Kapoor in the film. I was on a look out for someone who would perform the role with the great deal of conviction. Watching her earlier performances, I have always thought highly of her as an actor. And Anil Kapoor's suggestion since she was working under his production banner for Gandhi My Father made her the apt choice for the role. Shefali has worked very hard and also, lost oodles of weight to match up with the character I had observed her to be like.
What is the USP of the film?
If one wants to see the other side of Subhash Ghai, come and watch Black&White. Moreover, the USP of the film lies in the incredible performances of all the 17 characters in my film. An emotional drama which is eye-opener for those who don"t think beyond the notion of what is right and what is wrong?
What are your expectations from the film?
I have not concentrated on the pre-release promotions on the great scale keeping in mind the low-budget of the film. And despite knowing the fact that audience might get disappointed with kind of cinema that I have offered to them this time, all I can say to my audience isgo and watch for a different cinema straight from the heart of Subhash Ghai.