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Society creates trends, not films: Subhash Ghai

An important stakeholder in the Indian film industry, Subhash Ghai is an alumnus of the first batch of the prestigious Film and Television Institute of India (FTII). His journey – from actor, writer, director, producer to educationist can easily make an interesting film. One who has always strived to give out positive energy through his films, he spoke about trends in Indian cinema
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Subhas Ghai has contributed greatly to Indian cinema through his works like Krodhi, Ram Lakhan, Saudagar, Pardes, Yadein, Taal and others which have inspired us in many ways. Speaking about trends in Indian cinema he said that while stories were told in different forms since time immemorial, as long as cinema inspires an audience it can be termed as a trend. “There is no formula which guarantees success. When an audience doesn’t think alike on lines of the film, it doesn’t become a hit,” he said.
Briefly explaining the various eras and trends followed he said that while 40’s and 50’s has films which were based on sacrifice, 70’s saw the emergence of violence in cinema where Amitabh Bachchan, portrayed roles of the angry young man who was anti-establishment. “That was a phase where revolt was appreciated among viewers. It was like a war between the rich and the poor,” he said, before adding that the 90’s saw Shah Rukh Khan reign as the great romantic lover who was always in search of a girl who was just about to get married. “Then came stories where love had no name… then about women independence, etc”
He spoke about how when one film becomes a cult, it is then told and retold through cinema in different versions where the plot is the same. “Next trend will be about same sex love,” he said while stating that he isn’t being judgemental but is what is reflected is what we see in society.
Speaking about the trend of biopics in Indian cinema, he said that we tend to like biopics because the present people fail to inspire us. “Because our current heroes are confused, we are all restless and frustrated. This is why we run to search for inspiring stories,” he said though he believes that biopics are meaningful and popular.
Forecasting the emerging trends he also mentioned that there will be a rise of historic films after biopics are done to death. “By 2055 people will begin speaking Sanskrit as it is our Indian DNA. It will be fashionable. India is coming back to be known as Vidwan Bharat,” he said. He is very hopeful that that in the future there will be quality cinema, and qualitative audience in India.
When asked if there is a dearth of good stories to make films, Ghai maintained that the shortage is not stories, but rather inspirational stories. “The storyteller beats around the bush and the audience doesn’t have the style to accept good storytelling techniques. He (audience) wants songs, cabaret, maulas, etc.”
While he mentioned that technology will only be a support to aid efficient storytelling, what ultimately matters is human emotions. He believes that a good film is one that explores new dimensions of human life rather that affirming our beliefs of what we already hold true.
When asked about censorship coming in the way of freedom of expression and storytelling, Ghai was of the opinion that there is no big deal and that the issue of censorship has always been there. He believes the people on the censor board are liberal and are keeping up with time, but a problem arises because content for viewing is being shown in public which can affect an audience.
He said: “Social problems will always remain. Man has the desire to tell. It’s all about speed and time. However, in the name of freedom of expression you cannot abuse the freedom. There is a code of conduct for life. We shouldn’t compare our country with the West. Our films should inspire youngsters to lead a better life.” For him as a director or producer, he said films should lead, influence and analyse issues irrespective of the theme i.e. animated or commercial, whilst stating that that it is not the filmmakers who set a trend in moviemaking but the society.

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