Happy Birthday Subhash Ghai: A struggling actor who rose to become Bollywood's iconic filmmaker

Subhash Ghai, who gave us superhit films like Saudagar, Taal, Karma, Ram Lakhan, Pardes and Vidhaata, turns 72 today. Here's a look at his success story

Subhash Ghai, one of Bollywood’s iconic filmmakers, turned 72 today. In a career spanning more than four decades, he has given us films like Saudagar, Karma, Ram Lakhan, Taal, Pardes and more.

Those of you haveing seen Rajesh Khanna-starrer Aradhana must have noticed the man who played the superstar’s friend Prakash in the film. He was none other than Ghai, who had started his film career as an actor. After his outing in front of the camera did not turn out to be a successful one, he tried his luck in direction. His breakthrough came in 1976 with Kalicharan, which marked the turned out to be a breakthrough for Shatrughan Sinha. The film turned out to be a massive hit and there was no looking back for the filmmaker.

The 1980’s turned out to be a forgettable one for Bollywood as most of the films featuring big stars flopped. Contrary to this, Ghai’s career graph rose to great heights. He launched stars like Jackie Shroff with Hero, established Anil Kapoor’s career with Meri Jung and formed a successful pairing with veteran Dilip Kumar.

Some of my all-time favourite films featuring Dilip saab have been helmed by Ghai. The most favourite is the 1986 film Karma. Those of you who are not aware of this film, just listen to this song which is usually played on Independence Day and Republic Day.

Karma turned out to be a major success as audience not only liked Dilip Kumar, but Anupam Kher too who played baddie Dr Dang. In the 1990s, he drifted away from making action and experimented with films like Pardes, Taal, Yadein and Kisna: The Warrior Poet. However, his last two outings Yuvvraj and Kaanchi: The Unbreakable.

A brilliant diplomat

Bollywood is all about stars, and bigger stars. With such larger-than-life personalities, clashes are bound to happen when they don’t get well along with each other. A classic example was the cold war between Dilip Kumar and Rajkumar. While the former was known as the tragedy king, the latter was known for his flamboyant persona both on and off screen. It was no secret that both the stars could not see eye-to-eye. Several directors willing to cast them together had miserably failed. But Ghai was not the one to give up so easily. With sheer tact, he managed to bring both the stars together for his film Saudagar, which turned out to be a blockbuster. In this video, he reveals the story behind persuading both Dilip Kumar and Rajkumar for the film.

Soulful music

Every cinema-goer wishes to enjoy a movie which will turn out to be a paisa wasool experience for him/her. In other words, a mainstream Bollywood film comprises star presence, action and melodious music. And you cannot question Ghai on the third aspect. No matter how his films fared at the box office, the soundtracks did not disappoint at all. You might remember this song from 1999 hit Taal. This is just an example.

We wish you a very happy birthday Mr Ghai.