After a gap of seven years, Subhash Ghai returned to films recently with his family murder-mystery 36 Farmhouse, featuring an ensemble cast of Amol Parashar, Barkha Singh, Vijay Raaz, Sanjay Mishra and Ashwini Kalsekar amongst others. Being a fan of his filmmaking and vision, I had been waiting for his return, but the filmmaker doesn’t consider it as a comeback as he insists that he had been working all along. But what makes 36 Farmhouse a little more special is that it also marks Ghai’s debut as a music composer and as I spoke to him about it, he opened up his heart.
Ghai insists that within the pandemic, when everything was shut, he was working. Even the film is also a product of his work in the pandemic as he wrote the film in January 2021 and released it recently.
“During the lockdown, I was writing poems in my room and I decided to write one poem a day. Within three to four months, I wrote 64 poems and now I am close to a 100 as the pandemic is striking every now and then. A person who wants to work, find ways to do it and that came of use to me during 36 Farmhouse. We made the whole film within the pandemic.”
Talking about his debut as a music composer, Ghai states,
“I got a lot of creative freedom here. As I was writing the story, I also got the opportunity to write two songs in that. One situation was of a love song while the other was for a crook played by Sanjay Mishra. When I composed the song and invited my students from Whistlingwood Music school, we all collaborated together and made it all on our computers. When they were made, I requested my friends Sonu Nigam and Hairharan that if they liked the songs, they record it and send to me, and they did. Gone are the days you needed a full studio to record a song.”
The film also marked Ghai’s debut on OTT and tackling the perception of the kind of content that works on OTT, was one thing that he also had to face.
“A new perception has been made for OTT that you need crime, action, thriller and non-linear narrative. The producers are worried that the audience is restless on OTT and even I was asked to make a fast-paced project. But I told them what is the use of fast pace if things aren’t understood. Nowadays such projects come where it doesn’t matter if you understand them or not, they just have to be made. But I come from the cinema background and for us, every situation should be understood by the audience and 36 Farmhouse has that all.”
It has been a delight seeing the maverick return to the craft that he has honed and perfected for over four decades. While 36 Farmhouse is just the starting, I hope to see more of his work in the near future and witness many more facets of his to come.