By: Subhash K. Jha, IndiaFM
Monday, October 30, 2006
Prolific producer Vashu Bhagnani has moved to a new level. "One dream of mine was fulfilled when I built a building right in front of Mr Bachchan's residence Jalsa. At one time I used to stand in front of his house waiting for his glimpse. I've acquired a property right in front of Jalsa. I'll make it Building No.1 in Mumbai," says the producer of Biwi No 1 and Hero No.1. "This is my tribute to the legend called Amitabh Bachchan. I've named my dream - building 'Pinnacle - The Dreams'. In a few months it will be ready."
Vashu is deeply disillusioned by the lack of genuine empathy in the film industry. "The last six months have been like a sabbatical from showbiz. No one except David Dhawan bothered to inquire about my well-being. I had suffered heavy losses in film production. So I decided to earn some money through construction. I don't think work should be discriminated. Film production or construction, I treated them both with equal respect. I wish I could say the same of my friends in the industry who abandoned me because they thought I had quit the industry. I've been working round the clock picking plots of land and overseeing the construction. I've been very depressed lately. I had stopped attending my production offices. I had become disconnected with the film industry. Bollywod is a place where no one cares. Aata hai to bhi acha, jaata hai tab bhi theek hai. No one bothered to ask how I was. God is great enough to give me a second chance."
Vashu wants to grab this chance with both hands. "One of my pet projects is to start a grooming school for star aspirants in Khar. So many talented boys and girls with dreams in their eyes don't know where to go. I want to build a place where 5 boys and 5 girls will be selected every year and groomed into potential stars. I want to give the deserving newcomers the poise polish and confidence that they don't have." This project stars within six months.
Vashu has decided to return to movies. "It's because cinema is my passion. Also, it's time for me to launch my son Jacky. I've started listening to one story every day so I can zero in on a project for my son. But I need to finalize a director for my son. Who will work with me? In any case I want to announce my son's launch project on 1 January 2007. That would be a father's gift to a son. Now that I'm financially sound I don't need anyone's support, moral or financial. I will take a new director and launch my son. "
Why not buddy David Dhawan? "I can't ask him for such a favour. David only works with big stars. I can't force him into a corner for my son. David has been a true friend. Not a day has passed when he hasn't phoned to offer me every help including financial No one offers money in this industry. David has offered me his signed cheque if I needed money. We didn't work together for five years before Shaadi No.1. We never lost respect for each other. He's a man who would happily give me 1 crore if I need it. He has been a good adviser even for my construction business."
Vashu sighs. "I've survived. But what about other producers who go bust? My six-month sabbatical has made me think. For them I've decided to do something. Last week I met the chief minister of Maharashtra for land for a fully-equipped film studio that would become the pride of the Mumbai film industry. The CM has agreed. I've requested for land allotment within Film city (Goregaon). I've discussed a bank loan for this 500-crore rupee project, and about 10-15 percent of the money will go from my pocket. Art director Nitish Roy will design the studio. We expect thousands of tourists to visit this studio. To raise funds for the needy we'll auction memorabilia souvenirs clothes and paraphernalia of stars from 1940 onwards. The proceeds from these sales will go to needy actors and film persons. In addition this will be a tourist site with restaurants, etc. I'm not a very powerful person. But this is one of my concrete projects. I want to build a compact version of Universal Studios in Hollywood. In fact I went into the construction business to fulfil this dream. I also want to build a hospital within Film City (Goregaon) only for industry folks."
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