|Shashanka Ghosh -
Shashanka Ghosh - 1980 Batch
Writer, Director, Producer, Film Maker, Advertising Guru …
Shanshanka Ghosh has many adjectives to his personality.
Shashanka has been associated with the media world for over 18
years. He was one of the key players to define and add character
to the emerging face of the entertainment TV in India, having l
aunched MTV India and then Channel [V], where he worked as
Creative Director and then as Dy. General Manager. Shashanka has
won many international awards for his distinctive work. He
directed Quick Gun Murugun, an iconic south Indian spoof of a
western cowboy which is soon to be turned into a feature film.
Subsequently he was associated with the launch of WorldSpace in
India where he designed the content strategy of over 20 audio
channels for the platform. Shashank wrote and directed a feature
film called Waisa Bhi Hota Hai– part 2 which was screened at the
Rain Dance London festival, and the Cinema India showcase of 6
films in 15 cities in the US, and won best film at the Florence
River West film festival.
Interview- Shashanka Ghosh - debutante director
“I want to be a genre breaker”
Shashank Ghosh, the maker of Waisa bhi hota hai is a traveller
of sorts. He’s traversed through so many jobs that to profile
him becomes difficult. He gives us a detailed account of his
life and his unique experience of making the film.
Dad is a chartered accountant so I started off to become one but
quit soon enough. I finished my graduation and then became a
management student from the university of Jodhpur. Then I
started doing leather exports, I was too lazy to hold any job
for long. Then a friend told me that since I was such a great
bullshitter why didn’t I join advertising in client servicing.
So I tried that though I wasn’t sure about anything.
I got the job but then I saw a man in a suit being talked down
to by a man in a kurta/pyjama and I wondered how that was
possible. I was told it was possible because the kurta/pyjama
wearing guy was a copywriter. Then I was asked if I’d like to
give a copy test. If I hadn’t been asked I would never have
dreamt of it. I did give the test and got a copywriters job for
700 rupees salary.
That was my first break so to speak. That was in Hindustan
Thompson. I was then taken into Trikaya Grey went back to HT
launched Pepsi and a couple of other brands went off to Hong
Kong to do advertising. Just at the end of my tenure there I
wrote some scripts for MTV and the director there insisted I
make those films. In utter panic I made six films with a man
called Mahesh Murthy and all of them won awards wherever they
Automatically they offered me a job, I took it but I quit
because my family didn’t want to stay in Hong Kong. I returned
to India and MTV called up and said they were launching in India
and would I launch it for them. So I launched MTV. Within seven
months Star and MTV broke up and launched Channel V so I
launched Channel V in India and stayed on there on and off as
their creative director for the next seven years. I steadfastly
turned down the GM’s job because I knew that wasn’t what I
wanted to do, I preferred to be the Creative head.
I was offered a film by the head of star; I had already done a
series called Quickgun Murugan-this was a series of spots on
Chanel V and it was said at one time that this pretty much
redefined television and viewer sensibility across India.
Basically the brief for this was that how d’you indigenize an
international music Channel. So a writer called Rajesh Devraj
and myself got together and we created this line called ‘we are
like this only’. At that point it shook everyone up.
In 1996 the head of star Gary Davy wanted me to make a movie of
it-and as usual I said that I cant make a film. He gave me some
money and I got a script written but didn’t make it. It was in
2000 that I finally gave in to the demand to become GM- I also
set up something called World space a digital audio broadcast
station in Bangalore. Dr. Chandrashekhar hijacked me and put me
onto this project this digital workstation. I’ve been lucky I
think. After one year as GM I quit Channel V took time off drove
around the country because I didn’t know what to do.
I always had one fear that I couldn’t write dialogue-. I had
never written more than a page. Out of that fear I wrote a
script. To my surprise people wanted to make it into a film. But
this time I said I’d make it myself.
I didn’t want to make a typical south Bombay film so I worked
out commercially relevant genres and decided to make a gangster
film. I took the structure from Bollywood and then treated it
I was trying to address many issues from my own experiences. So
I tried to see what would happen if an outsider came from a
multinational culture rather than a small village into Mumbai. I
had my own theory about Bombay that because of it’s geography
and whatever it has evolved into, makes strangest people rub
shoulders and find likenesses in each other.
The title ’wasia bhi hota hai’ is to show a series of incidents
that say anything can happen. The story shows how the legendary
ganglord gets picked up and is eliminated in a surprise element.
Sandhya Mridul is from TV. Apparently I have a reputation that-I
admire strong women. She is a very aggressive and a strong
woman. I wanted someone to play a policewoman. And to match
Arshad warsi. He’s excellent in the film.
This is not a ‘leading lady leading man’ kind of film there are
no songs that they sing. There are songs but they’re sung in a
nightclub- there are singers like shibani Kashyap, akilash Rabbi
and Sunidhi Chauhan and Bali Brahmbhatt.
I took Vishal and Shekhar –we met through chanel v they met me
once and asked me why haven’t you given us anything to do. So I
asked them to compose to a specific brief-‘Sufi on guitar’. They
did and I was completely blown away. Vishal has written the
Toota toota ek parinda is a fabulous number.
I try to stay away from formulas- that I’d say is my keynote.
I’ve done the film in 2.10 crores which is relatively low
budget. Impact films has produced it. Big production houses
offered me the money but they wanted big stars and I didn’t want
date problems with my first film. But Sameer Gupta raised money
and he’s my producer. Both he and I have the same sensibilities.
We both felt that the audience needs a change and there was
place for an urban film. And I had my own understanding because
I’d worked in Chanel V and in that demograph called 15 to 35 and
I know how viable that is. This age group is supposed to be the
most adventurous category. They are the ones who take new fare
Mahima choudhry plays a superstar she plays herself-she’wonderful.
A ganglord has given this producer money because he wants to bed
her.And she essays this part beautifully.
The film looks good.I don’t know if I’ve told the story well
enough but overall I think it looks fine.
If you have the kind of crew that I did it isn’t difficult to
direct. My cameraman is a guy called Andre’ Menezes a first
I took a bunch of guys who wanted to prove themselves and whose
potential I had faith in. So it cost me less to make the film
than it might have.Mahesh Bhatt had told me it would cost about
four crores. My approach has always been to do stuff out of the
box so to speak- to be a genre breaker.
I had budgeted for a forty days shoot but it took 100 days to do