Subhash Ghai

Subhash Ghai (born 24 January 1945) is an Indian film director, producer and screenwriter, known for his works predominantly in Hindi cinema. His most notable works include 'Kalicharan' (1976), 'Vishwanath' (1978), Maeri (1976), Karz (1980), Hero (1983), Meri Jung (1985), Karma (1986), Ram Lakhan (1989), Saudagar (1991), Khalnayak (1993), Pardes (1997), Taal (1999), and Black & White (2008).[2] In 1982, he started Mukta Arts Private Limited which, in 2000, became a public company, with Subhash Ghai as its executive chairman. In 2006, he received the National Film Award, for producing the social problem film Iqbal, in the same year he founded the Whistling Woods International film and media institution in Mumbai.[3] In 2015, he received the IIFA Award for outstanding contribution to Indian Cinema.[4]

Subhash Ghai
Born (1945-01-24) 24 January 1945
Alma materFilm and Television Institute of India
OccupationFilm director, producer, actor, screenwriter, music director
Years active1970present
Mukta Ghai (m. 1971)

Early life

Born in Nagpur, India, Subhash Ghai's father was a dentist in Delhi. Ghai graduated in commerce from Rohtak, Haryana, and then went on to graduate in Cinema from the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune.[5]


In an interview with Rajya Sabha TV, Ghai recounted that after passing out from FTII, he came to Bombay, but was not allowed to enter any studio as he was unknown. He then read self help books like Dale Carnegie's How to Win friends and influence people, and used techniques given in it to help him try and enter the film industry. At the same time, he learnt of and entered a United Producers Filmfare talent contest. Of the 5,000 participants, three people were selected in it, he, Rajesh Khanna and Dheeraj Kumar. While Khanna received a role soon after, Ghai received a role an year later.[6]

Ghai started his career in Hindi cinema as an actor with small roles in films including Taqdeer (1967) and Aradhana (1971). He was the male lead in the 1970s Umang, and Gumraah (1976).[1] His directorial debut was the film Kalicharan (1976) which he obtained through a recommendation by Shatrughan Sinha. As of 2016, he has written and directed a total of 16 movies.

In the 1980s and 1990s, he formed a successful collaboration with Dilip Kumar whom he directed in Vidhaata (1982), Karma (1986) and Saudagar (1991), the latter for which he won the Filmfare Best Director Award.[7] He introduced Jackie Shroff as a leading actor in Hero (1983) and helped establish Anil Kapoor's rising career with Meri Jung (1985). He went on to frequently work with Shroff and Kapoor, casting them together in the films Karma (1986), Ram Lakhan (1989) and Trimurti (1995), the latter which he had produced and it was directed by Mukul S. Anand. His 1993 release Khalnayak starring Sanjay Dutt, Madhuri Dixit and Shroff featured the hit songs "nayak nahin khalnayak hu main" and the controversial "Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai".

In 1997, he directed Pardes which starred Shahrukh Khan and newcomers Mahima Chaudhry and Apoorva Agnihotri. In 1999 he directed Taal which starred Akshaye Khanna, Aishwarya Rai and Anil Kapoor. Both Pardes and Taal were released internationally and were super-hits at the box office. His following films were Yaadein (2001) and Kisna (2005), which were box office flops.

He then took a break from directing and turned producer with films including Aitraaz (2004), Iqbal (2005), 36 China Town (2006) and Apna Sapna Money Money (2006). In 2006, he set up his own film institute Whistling Woods International in Mumbai.[8] The institute trains students in filmmaking: production, direction, cinematography, acting, animation. Ghai has done brief cameos in his directorial ventures.

After a three-year hiatus from directing, he returned in 2008 with Black & White released on 7 March 2008 and, later Yuvvraaj released in November 2008 which didn't perform well at the box office.[9] A. R. Rahman stated in an interview that Ghai had asked him to use the words "Jai Ho" in a song.[10]

At the Cannes International Film Festival in May 2018, Ghai announced that he is co-producing a biopic on Osho Rajneesh along with an Italian production house. The movie would be directed by Lakshen Sucameli.[11][12][13]

Whistling Woods

In 2006, Ghai founded Whistling Woods International, a film, communication and creative arts institute located in Mumbai, India. Currently, he serves as the chairman of the institute.


Year Award Category Film
1986 National Award United Nations Council of Indian Youth
1992 Filmfare Award Best Director Saudagar
1998 Filmfare Award Best Screenplay Pardes
2006 National Award Best Film on Other Social Issues Iqbal
2015 IIFA Lifetime Achievement Award
2015 Business World Pioneering contribution in the field of Cinema Exhibition
2017 Screen Award Lifetime Achievement Award
2017 Amar Ujala Lifetime Excellence
2018 Economic Times-Edge Iconic Brand of Indian Cinema
2019 1st Diorama International Film Festival & Market Lifetime Achievement Award


1969AradhanaSupporting actor
1970 Umang Supporting actor
1976KalicharanWriter, Director
1978VishwanathWriter, Director
1979Gautam GovindaWriter, Director
1980KarzWriter, Director & Producer
1981KrodhiWriter, Director
1982VidhaataWriter, Director
1983HeroWriter, Director & Producer
1985Meri JungWriter & Director
1986KarmaWriter, Director & Producer
1989Ram LakhanWriter, Director & Producer
1991SaudagarWriter, Director & Producer
1993KhalnayakWriter, Director & Producer
1997PardesWriter, Director & Producer
1999TaalWriter, Director & Producer
2001YaadeinWriter, Director & Producer
2001 Rahul Producer
2003Ek Aur Ek GyarahProducer
2003Joggers' ParkProducer
2005Kisna: The Warrior PoetWriter, Director & Producer
200636 China TownProducer
2006Shaadi Se PehleExecutive Producer
2006Apna Sapna Money MoneyProducer
2007Good Boy, Bad BoyProducer
2008Black & WhiteWriter, Director & Producer
2008YuvvraajWriter, Director & Producer
2009 Paying Guests Producer
2010 Right Yaa Wrong Producer
2011 Love Express Producer
2011 Naukadubi (Bengali) Producer
2011 Kashmakash Producer
2013Samhita (film)Producer
2014Double Di TroubleProducer
2014Kaanchi: The UnbreakableWriter, Director & Producer

Personal life

In 1970, Ghai married a girl from Pune named Rehana alias Mukta. Today, he lives in Mumbai with his wife, Mukta Ghai and daughters, Meghna Ghai Puri and Muskaan Ghai. Meghna Ghai Puri is the President of Whistling Woods International Institute.[6]


  1. "Profile – Mukta Arts". Mukta Arts. 14 February 2008. Archived from the original on 14 February 2008..
  2. "53rd National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
  3. "Directorate of Film Festival". Archived from the original on 15 August 2016.
  4. "Showman Subhash Ghai to receive IIFA Lifetime Achievement award 2015". 28 May 2015.
  5. "Mukta Arts >> Board of Directors". Mukta Arts. Archived from the original on 13 April 2015. Retrieved 6 April 2015.
  6. K, Irfan. "Guftagoo with Subhash Ghai – an interview". Rajya Sabha TV. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  7. "Filmfare Awards (1992)".
  8. Subhash Ghai unveils dream project IndiaFM, Monday, 27 March 2006.
  9. "Slumdog's 'Jai Ho' was composed for Yuvvraaj". OneIndia. 25 February 2009. Archived from the original on 2 March 2009.
  10. “Subhash Ghai is the one who asked me...”, The Times of India, 24 February 2009.
  11. "After Wild Wild Country, Subhash Ghai announces a film on Osho". Hindustan Times. 16 May 2018. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  12. "Subhash Ghai's biopic on Osho would be different from Wild Wild Country, asserts filmmaker | Bollywood News". Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  13. "Subhash Ghai to produce international biopic on Osho Rajneesh – Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
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