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'Subhash Ghai a liability by name, not an asset'

Maharashtra,Cinema/Showbiz,Immigration/Law/Rights, Wed, 11 Apr 2012 IANS

Mumbai, April 11 (IANS) Subhash Ghai's film institute is in trouble after a Supreme Court judgement asking him return the land and the filmmaker Wednesday urged everyone to protect its students as they were the "real asset" of the nation.


"Subhash Ghai is liability by name and not an asset. The asset is the children who are the future of the film industry so please protect them," Ghai said at a press conference. He was accompanied by students of his film acamdey, Whistling Woods International, and few supporters from the film fraternity.


"We have strength, courage and honesty. We don't know what will be the future. Film industry and media should think and talk about it and take this forward. I am sure the doors will open again," he added.


Proving a major setback to Ghai, the Supreme Court a week ago (last Wednesday) dismissed an appeal by Mukta Arts Ltd, owned by Ghai, challenging a Bombay High Court ruling cancelling allotment of 20 acres of prime land in Goregaon east for his film academy, Whistling Woods International.


Observing that the entire transaction 'lacked transparency', the apex court said that the application for allotting the land remained in cold storage under three chief ministers and was revived after Vilasrao Deshmukh became the CM and the land was allotted by him.


Last February, the Bombay High Court had quashed allotment of the land for the state-of-the-art world-class film academy, a joint venture between Mukta Arts Ltd and the Maharashtra Films, Stage & Cultural Development Corporation.


Ghai, according to lawyers, will have to immediately return 14.5 acres but can continue to hold 5.4 acres on which the institute stands till the last batch passes out in 2014.


As many as 500 alumni have passed out from the institute since 2006.


Ghai said: "I am not here to promote Whistling Woods. I highly respect the judiciary and the government's decision. We are here to share the sentiments and views of the students. What is my students fault? What is the film industries fault?"


Eminent personalities Shabana Azmi, Nagesh kukunoor, Amol Gupte, Govind Nihalani, Manmohan Shetty and Anjum Rajabali among others were present there to support him.


Shabana said: "In Chinese, the word for crisis and opportunity is the same. We will turn this crisis into an opportunity."


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