25 Years Of Pardes EXCLUSIVE: “I kept telling Shah Rukh Khan in every scene and song that he has to avoid his compelling image of a romantic hero” – Subhash Ghai

By Fenil Seta -

Pardes completes 25 years today. The film with an unforgettable soundtrack starred Shah Rukh Khan, marked the debut of Mahima Chaudhry and Apurva Agnihotri and told an interesting tale that touched the hearts of the viewers. Subhash Ghai was its director and producer whose expert execution also played an important role in its success.


25 Years Of Pardes EXCLUSIVE: “I kept telling Shah Rukh Khan in every scene and song that he has to avoid his compelling image of a romantic hero” – Subhash Ghai


As Pardes celebrates its 25th anniversary, Subhash Ghai explosively spoke to Bollywood Hungama about the film, Shah Rukh Khan’s nuanced performance and a lot more.


Was Shah Rukh Khan the first choice? As per IMDb trivia, you met him in 1991 and was not happy with his attitude. However, it is claimed that things changed two years later when you saw a more human side to him as you saw him taking care of his wife Gauri and his parents. Is this true? If yes, would you like to talk about it?


At times you get to know a person and artist better in a creative space. The same for Shah Rukh Khan. Once you meet him and get to know him, you will know he has a very good soul and is a humble person inside out. I have known him for years now and hence, I can vouch for it.


Everytime I see Pardes, I am amazed by Shah Rukh Khan’s performance. He is in love and shows he isn’t. Even his act in the song ‘Yeh Dil’ is so nuanced and heartwarming. Could you tell us what was the brief given by you to him that translated into such a fine performance?


I had warned Shah Rukh from the script stage itself that it's a two-dimensional character for not being in love with the girl and his constant inner struggle not to get zapped in her love despite respecting and loving the girl sincerely till the climax. I kept telling him in every scene and song that he must avoid his compelling image of a romantic hero to justify my character of Arjun. He had a tough time doing so, but he nailed it. He loves challenges and comes out with flying colours. Mahima got the Filmfare Award for Best Award and I feel that even Shah Rukh should have won the best actor award in Pardes for such a complex performance. He did get the Filmfare but for some other film (Dil To Pagal Hai).


Pardes came just a week before India’s 50th Independence Day. Was it planned that way from the start, which is why you had the song ‘I Love My India’ in the song?


My patriotic feelings for India have always been strong since a very young age. So, it was a big coincidence that we were celebrating the 50th year of Independence during its release. My heart goes out to India, and we can only express our love for the nation only within the parameters of our profession or status. And I am just a writer-director who tends to do as it comes across. Like today, I am writing and composing a song for a video ‘Ghar Ghar Tiranga’ to celebrate the 75th year of our independence. Isn’t this a strange coincidence as well?




The late Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji graced the music launch of Pardes in Delhi…


Since Pardes was about Indian culture, I had approached the late Arun Jaitley ji to invite Vajpayee ji to launch our music in Delhi and Shah Rukh Khan also joined us happily. It was very gracious of such a great leader like Bajpayee ji with his artistic taste to grace our event. I felt so happy.


Did you ever visit cinema halls to check audience reaction? What was the reaction of the viewers, especially in the song ‘I Love My Idea’? Which scene got the maximum reaction from viewers?


Oh Yes. I always visit cinema halls to check audience reactions. I either sit among the audience or stand near the door to watch how they are reacting to every scene and song of my film. During Pardes, I was so thrilled to see people clapping during the song ‘I Love My India’. The best reaction from the audience, which embarrassed me, was when I appeared on the screen singing ‘I Love My India’!


How does it feel that such a special film has completed 25 years and is still remembered fondly?


I feel very happy that my baby is celebrating its silver jubilee and is getting the same love and respect from the audience as it got 25 years ago in cinema halls. I feel truly humbled.


All said and done, films are made with utter passion through your soul, mind and heart. I have never treated films as projects. I have always executed them with lots of love and delivered them to the audience. Filmmaking is a business, but it is a business of the heart.


Also Read: 25 Years Of Pardes EXCLUSIVE: When Shah Rukh Khan and Atal Bihari Vajpayee shared the stage at the film’s audio launch in Delhi

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