subhash ghai

Film director Subhash Ghai (L) with his family.  (Sujit Jaiswal/AFP via Getty Images)

MUMBAI — It was Oct. 24, 1978 when Subhash Ghai launched his production company Mukta Arts with “Karz,” an evergreen musical classic. It was also his wedding anniversary and Ghai never looked back. He launched all his movies on that date. He named his company after his wife Mukta.

A student from the acting course of the Film & Television Institute of India (FTII), Ghai had a stint of some years as an actor and became a storywriter for filmmakers like Prakash Mehra, Dulal Guha and others.

In 1975, producer N.N. Sippy was so impressed with his narration that he told him that he would accept the story of “Kalicharan” only if Ghai agreed to direct the film himself. With follow-ups like “Vishwanath” and “Gautam Govinda,” Ghai established himself as a frontline director and writer.

He was also filming “Krodhi” when he decided to launch himself as a producer with a musical thriller. And the result was “Karz.” Mukta Arts then made blockbusters like “Hero,” “Karma,” “Saudagar,” “Khal-Nayak,” “Pardes” and “Taal” even as he kept making outside hits as well, such as Gulshan Rai’s “Vidhaata,” N.N. Sippy’s “Meri Jung” and his brother Ashok Ghai’s “Ram Lakhan.” He also produced many more films.

 In 2001, Mukta Arts became the first Hindi film production company that was listed in public in India. Ghai also raised funds to set up a world-class film and media arts school, Whistling Woods International, in Film City, Mumbai to groom the next generations of filmmakers and artistes.

Mukta Arts has since produced films like “Aitraaz,” “China Town,” “Iqbal,” “Ek Aur Ek Gyarah,” “Shaadi Se Pehle,” “Jogger’s Park,” “Apna Sapna Money Money” and others. He also launched Mukta A2 Cinemas and now runs 60 screens all over India.  

Mukta Arts has developed a huge story bank with young and veteran writers, and has now tied up with Zee Studios to produce three movies in 2021.  Details will be known soon.

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