In what can be seen as a major setback for Subhash Ghai in his court battle over the disputed land occupied by his thriving Whistling Woods Film Institute, the Supreme Court has dismissed Ghai’s plea against the earlier Bombay High Court Order.
The Bombay High court had ordered Whistling Woods International film institute to return 14.5 acres of land of land at Film City Mumbai which was allotted to a partnership company Whistling Woods Ltd. The honourable Court had ordered the closing down of the Institute by 2014 after paying Rs. 54 cr as lease rent for 20 acres land since 2000 …Whistling Woods had filed SLP to supreme court for stay and justice.”
After the High Court judgment Ghai had said, “Whistling Woods Ltd is a partnership company with joint venture agreement in 2000 between the govt of Maharashtra corporation MFSCDCL [Film City] and Mukta Arts Ltd in which 20 acres land in film city Mumbai was only allotted to use Film City land to build a world class educational complex with multimedia activities as per the aims and objects of Film City. We have used only 5.5 acres to build Whistling Woods International which is declared a top ten world-class film institute.”
After the Supreme Court’s judgment against Ghai’s plea, he says, “I respect the judiciary of my country. The Supreme Court has dismissed our appeal on the grounds that the Maharashtra government should have followed the proper governance to enter into a joint venture before running a school in Film City.”
Maintaining his dignity under the blow just received to his dream venture, Ghai said, “I suppose one must be cautious while dealing with the State Government rather than being penalized after ten years when heavy investment and losses are involved.”
Subhash Ghai was the first private entrepreneur from Mumbai, Maharashtra since Dada Saheb Phalke who came forward with a proposal to open a big filmmaking school and a film library in Mumbai in 1993. The proposal was made to the Government of Maharashtra (Chief Minister Sudhakar Naik) for the coming generation of artiste and technicians. Subhash Ghai’s application was pursued by all consequent governments, and he personally appraised them about his vision. He was appreciated and got assurance from all the governments and other leaders who assured their full support. Finally in 2000, Subhash Ghai presented his master plan to the Government of Maharashtra.”
Says Ghai with a smile, “Whistling Woods will go on as brightly as before. Though we may miss the land, land is never the strength behind education. Rather it’s the other way around. We are opening branches of Whistling Woods in many states. My production house Mukta Arts is also carrying on the movie-production business full-steam ahead.”
As for the Supreme Court’s judgment, Ghai says, “We will discuss our future course of action with our team of lawyers and wait for the Government’s reaction to the honourable Supreme Court’s judgment.”