At 14, Muskaan Ghai, younger daughter of veteran filmmaker Subhash Ghai, has forayed into social work. A 9th grade student of Dhirubhai Ambani International School, Muskaan, just like any other teenager, is an ardent fan of Ranveeer Singh and You Tuber Teeny Booper. But what stands her apart is the clarity of thought at this tender age and an eagerness to alleviate miseries of the poverty-stricken. In an exclusive chat with Nation Next, Muskaan speaks about her philanthropy and how she wants to follow her father’s footsteps without necessarily being a filmmaker.
You are working for a social cause – Aap Ki Rasoi (your kitchen) – to provide food to poor people and cancer patients. At such a young age, what motivated you to do charity?
Aap Ki Rasoi, which started in October 2015, is a charity initiative towards alleviating hunger and malnourishment in the poverty stricken people. At The Gurunanak Hospital in Bandra East (Mumbai), many poor cancer patients come for their treatment and we serve them food there. I got motivated to be part of Aap Ki Rasoi by one of my cousins, who serves there daily. Even I thought of lending a helping hand to this initiative. Because of my school, I’m able to go there only on Sundays but it gives me immense happiness to be part of this.
At 14, do you find yourself strong enough to talk the poor cancer patients out of their miseries?
We go there to spread happiness among people. Majorly, we find cancer patients there who are undergoing their treatment or chemotherapy. I am sure all of them must have really disheartening stories to tell but I never personally go and remind them about their miseries. I would rather strike a regular ‘happy conversation’ with them to make them forget their miseries. Once a young girl came to me and said ‘you have a really good T-Shirt and you are beautiful!’ Listening to this compliment gave me immense pleasure as I felt this compliment was her way of appreciating my deeds. I looked at her and told her ‘you are very beautiful too and so are your friends.’ The smile she gave me was so satisfying that till date, I cannot forget the same. Such simple interactions add up to the list of ‘my best memories.’
It’s a bit early to ask you this question but do you plan to follow your dad’s footsteps and pursue filmmaking?
Yes, I do want to follow my dad’s footsteps but not necessarily by pursuing filmmaking. As my father always says, ‘do what you are really interested in,’ I will definitely follow his advice and will take a wise decision vis-a-vis my career. Acting or getting into movies is definitely not on my cards. But yes if I develop interest in filmmaking and get an opportunity, I would love to live upto my family’s expectations. Choosing an easy way out is not my cup of tea as I have heard so many stories from my father about his struggle as a budding filmmaker and the hardships he faced in the film industry. As I’ve been listening to such stories since my childhood, I don’t fear the hard times in anything I do. My elder sister Meghna Ghai Puri chose to become educationist at Whistling Woods International, and not a filmmaker, as she is following what she likes. Even I would want to pursue something, which I have a liking for. I would love to take a career path that I can cherish forever.
Your dad’s cinematic style has always been larger the life. What kind of cinema do you follow?
I am a big Bollywood fan. I grew up watching Bollywood movies. It’s not like I am not fond Hollywood or animated movies but Bollywood is something I go to theatres for. Most importantly, Bollywood films serve us a complete package of all emotions. My favourite film till date is ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Dewaani’ and the reason behind is the story of the film. Naina (Deepika Padukone), along with her friends whom she hasn’t met since ages, goes for a trekking trip, which opens the door of a completely new life for her. This is what amused me the most, just like other teenage girls, hoping something like this would also happen to us someday!
Which movies made by your dad are your favourites?
Ram Lakhan is one of my favourite movies. What I like the most about my dad’s films is behind the scene stories. I get to hear lot many interesting stories about every movie I watch.
Which other filmmakers do you like the most?
Rather than filmmakers, I keenly follow certain production houses like Salman Khan Productions, Dharma Productions or even Yash Raj Films. That is how I get an idea about how the movie is going to be. And if it is a Ranveer Singh or a Salman Khan film,the production house and the filmmaker don’t matter to me; I just rush to watch the first day first show.
Which Bollywood stars do you follow?
Apart from Salman Khan and Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra and Alia Bhatt are my forever favourites. I love their acting, their characters in the movies and also the way they dress!