Subhash Ghai Marriage: A Few Allegations, A Solid Marriage

Subhash Ghai is often counted amongst the finest filmmakers the country has produced, yet it was the lack of success in his acting career that led him to direction. Ghai began his career playing supporting roles – with a rare lead role now and then – before realizing his true strengths lay in filmmaking. He made his directorial debut with the Shatrughan Sinha starrer Kalicharan (1976), which remains one of the most successful commercial films of all time. It brought recognition to Subhash the filmmaker – and making films is what Subhash did thereafter.

Subhash Ghai tied the knot to Rehana Farooqui – a girl who he had first met in his time at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune. Rehena converted to Hinduism and renamed herself Mukta, which is also the name of Subhash’s film production company. Although their marriage has been a sound and stable, their relationship has also seen its fair share of controversies and even flings. Did this originally inter-faith marriage pull though? Find out below.

Subhash Ghai – From Acting To Filmmaking

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Subhash Ghai was born in Nagpur, Maharashtra on 24th January 1945 into a family of Punjabi descent. In the 1950s, the family moved to New Delhi, which is where Subhash received most of his education. After his graduation in commerce from Rohtak, Haryana; Subhash moved to Pune to join the FTII. Subhash had joined the acting course since he had developed keen interest towards acting during his college days at Rohtak.

Subhash Ghai completed the acting programme in 1966 and made his debut – a supporting role – with Taqdeer in 1967. Thereafter, he appeared – as the lead – in the Umang (1970), which bombed at the box office. This followed with several supporting roles that brought Subhas no recognition, with the films themselves not doing particularly great themselves. In 1976 he decided to make a career jump to direction and film production. On the recommendation of the popular actor Shatrughan Sinha, Subhash got to the helm of the film Kaalicharan (1976), directing what was to be a huge success. The movie catapulted Subhash to fame, and there was no turning back.

Since then, in a career spanning over four decades, Subhash Ghai has directed and produced over 25 films – most of which have been box office hits. In 2006, Subhash Ghai started his own film school called Whistling Woods International, which is led by his daughter Meghna Ghai Puri.

Rehana Farooqui – The First And True Love

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At FTII, Subhash happened to meet Rehana Farooqui. It is not known when exactly the two met but Rehana, a resident of Pune, and Subhash are said to have first crossed paths at a cultural event in the school. Despite the disparity in their religion the two had a solid relationship. Rehana had nothing to do with showbiz, but was always supportive of Subhash’s choices and career decisions. By the time he became an actor, the couple knew that it was time they took the next step in their relationship.

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Subhash and Rehena got married in 1970 in Mumbai. After tying the knot, Rehana converted to Hinduism and changed her name to Mukta. Later, when Subhash got into filmmaking, he named his production company Mukta Arts after his wife. The couple adopted Meghana (b. 1978) who is the daughter of Subhash’s younger brother. Subhash and Rehana had a child in the early 2000s, and named her Muskaan Ghai.

Manisha Koirala – Allegedly Harassing The Newcomer

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Subhash Ghai had a penchant of introducing new actresses to Bollywood and one such actress he brought to Hindi cinema was Manisha Koirala. Manisha had made her debut with a Nepali film in 1989 but it was Subhash Ghai who took note of this pretty lady and signed her for her first Hindi film Saudagar (1991) starring Bollywood heavyweights Dilip Kumar and Raj Kumar. Despite being surrounded by a star studded cast, Manisha left her own mark on the film – eventually making Saudagar her launchpad film, so to speak. While the film was praised for its story rendition, it also sparked some infamous rumours.

On the completion of the film, Manisha’s mother Sushma Koirala shared with some film magazines that during the making of the film Subhash Ghai made derogatory advances towards Manisha. She stated that Subhash maintained a strong hold on Manisha and would dictate her whom to talk on the sets of the film. He would even have a daily discussion of an hour with Manisha in her vanity van without the presence of her mother Sushma.

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Subhash refuted it all stating that Sushma Koirala wanted quick publicity for her daughter and for that reason she resorted to such cheap claims. Sources close to the making of the film shared with tabloids that Subhash did indeed have a very personal and friendly rapport with Manisha but it cannot be said for sure that he harassed her. Manisha herself never spoke a word about it, which was perhaps due to the fact that she was newcomer and did not want to jeopardise her career. Interestingly, she never worked with Subhash Ghai again.

Her first film with the man whom she considered a mentor was also the last film she did with him. Manisha’s silence on the matter worked as a pacifier for her mother, and eventually the news of the alleged harassment fizzled out.

Rina Golan – A Casting Couch Scenario?

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In the year 2010, a New York based Israeli model Rina Golan made explosive revelations in her semi-autobiographical book Dear Mister Bollywood: How I Fell in Love with India, Bollywood and Shah Rukh Khan. The book came under limelight when free copies were circulated among dignitaries at the Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image (MAMI) festival 2010. Rina Golan primarily wanted to share her memoirs from the days she spent struggling in tinseltown and all of the tough times she encountered.

She wrote how she was fascinated by the glamorous world of Bollywood, which led her all the way to Mumbai from New York after her graduation. Rina made her own portfolio and distributed it among casting directors and modelling agencies. Eventually she met Subhash Ghai at his residence for a discussion over prospective roles in his films.

The Bedroom Connection

In the book, Rina claims that her discussion with Subhash started normally but eventually started drifting into the uncomfortable zone. “I want you to trust me and surrender to me completely. I will take you around with me everywhere and you will see how your life will change” were apparently Subhash’s words as he tried to usher Rina into the bedroom. Rina did not suspect any ulterior intentions up till the point Subhash led her to his bedroom. She realised that she was being coaxed into a ‘casting couch’ and there was a carnal connotation to his words “surrender to me completely.”

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Rina made allegations against a few other Bollywood personalities but this accusation regarding an industry veteran like Subhash Ghai surely ruffled a lot of feathers. The book was sitting on shelves for months but after its distribution at the film festival it sold like hotcakes. At that time, Rina had packed her bags and left for Jerusalem forever. When contacted by media she stressed that her objective to include excerpts of her conversation with Subhash Ghai was to throw light on the trend of asking sexual favours from a newcomer in lieu of a meatier role in the film. She added that she did not want to malign the image of anyone but on the same time wanted to point out that casting couch is even practised by revered filmmakers like Subhash Ghai.

Subhash Ghai, invariably denied all the allegations stating that he does not even know such book and can’t recall whether he ever met Rina Golan. “If you say that derogatory things have been said by her about me, it’s her choice. In our profession we do get bouquets and bricks all the time from known and unknown both. We can’t even react,” Subhash stated to a news daily.

Whether Rina’s allegation were true, no one can say for sure. After the initial outcry, Rina stayed tight-lipped about the matter, and soon the news slipped out of public consciousness.

The Triumphant Marriage After All

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It is interesting that all the allegations had little impact on the Subhash Ghai marriage with Rehana. His family never resorted to any public comments about any of the infamous accusations towards Subhash and in fact his daughter Meghna always extolled her admiration towards her father. Subhash and Rehana have been together through the thick and thin of life, and it is no doubt that the couple share a strong bond, which surpassed the test of time. We wish the couple and their children all the very best for the future.

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