Rekha Bhardwaj Shares 5 Invaluable Insights From Her Own Experiences

With soulful music and life-changing insight, Rekha Bhardwaj conducted an unforgettable 5th Veda session at Whistling Woods International. Sharing her invaluable tips on music and relaying her journey to success, she undoubtedly had the audiences captivated. Here are a few gems of wisdom shared by the iconic vocalist:

1. “My confidence comes from my daily riyaaz.”

Despite her unmatched success, Rekha Bhardwaj shared with the students of Whistling Woods International the importance of riyaaz or practice. Her revelation was both inspiring and humbling to the students.

2. “Even as a child I knew I had to be a professional singer; it came naturally to me.”

Delving into her childhood and her budding passion for music, Rekha Bhardwaj spoke about how her true passion had always been a part of her psyche. “As a 5 year old I used to attend classical music conferences which added to my musical leanings,” she said, “I used to learn from my elder sister while she did her riyaaz early in the morning.”

3. “My Guru ji used to say the most important riyaaz is to listen to yourself.”

Sharing insight from her mentor, Rekha Bhardwaj spoke of her own leanings and experiences with music. “When you are well versed with a song,” she said, “improvisation happens on its own. You can play with the song however you like it, because then it becomes your own song.”

4. “Classical music helps you stay grounded, which lays the foundation of singing.”

She may have ventured into various genres, garnering fans from different crevices of the world, but Rekha Bhardwaj talks about how her roots will also be embedded into the heart of classical & folk music and how the fundamentals are the most important, saying, “Folk music is the mother of all genres of music in the world. Classical music is like meditating; it gives you inner peace and helps you stay calm.”

5. “Every song adds to my musical journey, and so it becomes special.”

Having performed numerous hits, Rekha Bhardwaj displays her ardour for every song that adds to her musical journey. Amidst her interaction with the students, the singer also performed some of her hit numbers for the audience.

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German Artist’s 3D Animations Are Mind-Bending Visual Displays

Oliver Latta is a visual artist and designer whose work has taken the internet by the storm. Known for his abstract style, this artist’s vision brings our daily and seemingly monotonous actions to life in the most unique way.

Using 3D animation software, his designs are an inspiration to many animators and visual artists across the globe. According to Tech Insider, Latta aims to create “everyday situations in a new, abstract concept” with his designs.

Take a look at his animations below:

You can take a look more of his work on his website.

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Terence Lewis Shares 5 Things to Remember When You’re Working Towards Your Goal

During an immersive session at the 5th Veda cultural hub, Terence Lewis shared some invaluable insight on how to embark on the road to success. Sharing stories of his humble beginnings in Mumbai to the sheer passion and drive for dance that kept him going, Terence Lewis captivated an audience of over 500 students with his advice on how he achieved success. Here are some of the memorable pieces of advice shared by him.

1. “Life doesn’t give you any guarantee, but we must all take a chance.”

Something that started with a serendipitous dance competition in school, later bloomed into a means-to-an-end during the early stages of his career as Terence Lewis conducted dance lessons in Mumbai. It wasn’t until much later that he took the final leap and pursued his passion in earnest that his journey to becoming one of the most renowned choreographers in the country began.

2. “Be persistent, be consistent and at the same time be practical.”

Peppered with inspiring anecdotes, Terence also spoke about how he took on opportunities that didn’t necessarily further his career in the direction he wanted, but did later provide him with the financial safety to pursue his dreams.

3.“Dream big but take practical steps towards your goals.”

Not one to discourage a dreamer to dream big, Terence Lewis instead encourages you to approach your goal practically. He says, “The trick is to break down the larger goal into small doable steps and keep at it, every single day.”

4. “I can’t stress enough on how important it is to maintain one-pointed focus towards your goal.”

Nothing can be achieved without focus, and Terence Lewis’s stellar career is a testament to that. He speaks about creating your own opportunities, saying, “In a competitive world today, you cannot keep waiting around for the right opportunity. Make sure that you are completely ready and that why it is so important to train yourselves, 24/7.”

5. “Fall in love with your craft and make it your affair; nothing else can be important.”

Looking at Terence Lewis’s journey so far, it’s apparent that he’s lived and breathed his art for many years. His final piece of advice to the students was to fall in love with their passion, as that is the surest way to success and achieving your goals. “Students here are fortunate to have such an institute, there is nothing like this. Here you get a chance to love what you do.” he said, “You need the right space and environment to succeed along with such amazing teachers.”


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Anupam Kher on His Journey & Acting at Whistling Woods International

“I don’t take myself seriously and that is my biggest strength,” said Anupam Kher during the irrevocably immersive session he conducted at the 5th Veda. An iconic figure in Indian cinema, with over 500 films since he emerged in the film industry 35 years ago, Anupam Kher shared many gems of wisdom with the students of Whistling Woods International.

About six hundred students gathered to garner insight from the film maven at the inauguration of the sixth season of the 5th Veda cultural hub. “You too can become extraordinary only when you really work extra hard and differently from others and leave your audience surprised”, said the renowned actor while sharing anecdotes from his journey in the film industry. Some of his riveting anecdotes included stories about ill-fated fights with Mahesh Bhatt over the old man’s role in ‘Saaransh’ and even how his acting journey began with an opportunity to play a pivotal role in Subhash Ghai’s film ‘Karma’.

Unflinchingly candid and as forthcoming as ever, Anupam Kher had the students captivated during the entirety of the session. Being a natural teacher, it’s no surprise that the actor so effortlessly guided the aspiring actors and filmmakers in the audience within the span of one session. He shared his life’s experiences, talking about his journey from when he studied at the National School of Drama to some invaluable tips on an actor’s breathing techniques.

Subhash Ghai, the founder of Whistling Woods International, culminated the session by saying, “When an actor inspires a director, then magic is created on celluloid. It then becomes imperative for the director to highlight such immense talent. Anupam Kher inspired me to write the best lines for him in Karma and Saudagar.” Anupam Kher’s drive and charisma left the students of Whistling Woods International both invigorated and inspired, eager to learn and explore the vast expanse of cinema.

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Learning the Art of ‘Design Thinking’ with Xavier Massé

Xavier Massé has been a boundless source of inspiration to the students of Whistling Woods International School of Design in the past and this time was no different. The ‘Design Jam’ workshop was crafted to let the new students of design explore a structured but more hands-on approach to visual design over the span of three days. Xavier Massé, the dean of ECV, France’s premier design school conducted this workshop with great enthusiasm and was impressed with the student interaction from the initial stages of the workshop.

About the idea of ‘Design Jam,’ the dean said, “It’s a three-day workshop based on a methodology of work called ‘design thinking’ and it’s meant to introduce a new way of doing creative exploration; how to not only help the students find a lot of different innovative ideas, but also how to find the right one in an efficient way.”  

The ethos of ‘Design Jam’ lies in its highly interactive aspect. Divided into groups, the students were forced out of their comfort zones & had to think on their feet while working in congruence with their teammates. The purpose was to not just inspire the creativity, but also imbibe the attitude of being able to solve problems efficiently within them. “Once you start to understand how the world works, then you start to understand where the problems are,” said Xavier Massé, “Once you start to understand the problems, then you know how to fix them. You become a problem-solver. We teach designers to be problem-solvers.”

Siddharth, a School of Design student, spoke about how this workshop inspired him, saying, “For me, Mr Xavier was the first big thing which set me free in the design world. As he said, ‘Talk less and show them what you can do.’”

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WWI Masterclass with Karan Johar

_DB98556Acclaimed Indian filmmaker Karan Johar was welcomed with a loud cheer as he entered our auditorium for a film forum masterclass. The masterclass was moderated by Rahul Puri, Head of Academics, WWI, who posed questions to Karan Johar, with regards to his filmmaking and specifically about his recent film – ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.’ The director spoke at length about his approach and the processes involved in the making of his films & specifically about ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’.

He gave multiple suggestions and advice to an auditorium full of aspiring filmmakers to be better at their skills and also help them grow as unique individual professionals in the Film & Media industry. He specifically recommended a special exercise for the students of acting, in order to enhance their acting skills.

_DB98617He advised budding filmmakers, saying, “It is extremely important to be with the times. Relevance is something you can aspire, chase and acquire, if you keep your mind open to suggestions.” While interacting with the students he encouraged them to trust their instincts and make films that they believe in. He further added, “Nothing fails like success. When in failure you contemplate and strive to become better. However, success comes with a lot of baggage. When you meet success, make sure to acknowledge it and move on. Those who become arrogant with success tend to go down with it. The ability to move beyond success will come with recognising what you don’t know and not what you know.”

He shared anecdotes from his filmmaking journey, from being an assistant director in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge to writing-directing, producing & distributing blockbuster movies. He also shared his immense love for Indian film music and candidly admitted, “I am obsessed with and only listen to Indian film music.” He also mentioned that this love was the seed that enabled him to work with music directors to create the many much-loved melodies in all his movies, which bear a stamp of his love for music.

_Y0A8580As expected, the students had several questions for him. Karan Johar patiently answered all the questions and shared a lot of his experiences, which will greatly assist the students as filmmakers & even beyond as people. While he has been visiting Whistling Woods for masterclasses quite often, every time he visits, he wishes that there was an institute like this when he was starting out as a filmmaker and rues that he had to learn on the job. He spoke about all our alumni that he has enjoyed working with, including the writer-director of the highly successful ‘Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania’ and ‘Badrinath ki Dulhania’, Shashank Khaitan and the editor of ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’, Manik Dawar and a whole lot of WWI alumni, who are working at Dharma Productions.

Wishing the students best for all their future endeavours, he asked them to make the maximum of their time at the institute and step out to create their mark in the media and entertainment industry.


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WWI Convocation, 2017

_Y0A7687We celebrated our 10th Annual Convocation with the 18th & 19th graduating batches, at St. Andrews Auditorium, Bandra. The event witnessed a full-house with close to 1000 people; right from industry professionals, students and their families in complete attendance. The graduating students, full of excitement, were acknowledged for their achievements with awards and commendations.

_Y0A7280This year, the ace Indian director and screenwriter Shyam Benegal and legendary actor Shatrughan Sinha were conferred with the ‘Whistling Woods Maestro Award’, for their invaluable contribution to Indian cinema. Prof. S. Parasumaran, Vice Chancellor at Tata Institute of Social Science, gave an inspiring speech as the keynote speaker at the event.

The ceremony began with Subhash Ghai, Meghna Ghai Puri and Ravi Gupta along with the guests, lighting the lamp, followed by an inspiring video on the institute’s incredible journey over the last decade.

Commenting on the occasion, Subhash Ghai, our Founder & Chairman, shared, “With this graduating batch, we, at Whistling Woods International have accomplished ten successful years. It gives me immense pleasure to share that we have delivered on what we had committed, when we had set out to start the institute in 2006. With the constant efforts and support extended by Meghna, Rahul, Ravi Gupta, the faculty here have successfully shaped the institute to be what it is today. I am honoured to be a part of WWI’s journey into completing its first decade. I wish that legendary personalities like Shyam Benegal sahaab and Shatrughan ji continue to inspire us to create more well-honed industry ready professionals and thereby help students make their careers in a holistic way.”


Commenting on the occasion, leading director Shyam Benegal shared, “It is an honour to not only be present here today, but also to be associated with an institute like Whistling Woods International. Subhash Ghai’s vision has come to fruition and the institute has made incredible contributions to the Indian cinema, by honing the talent in our country. It has been a fantastic journey so far and I look forward to the years to come.”


Advising the students on their journey ahead, ace actor Shatrughan Sinha said, “From the time I graduated I have followed only one mantra: In this competitive world, prove yourself to be better than the best but if you fail to do then at least make sure you are different from the rest, and you will find your destination. Believe in yourself and charge ahead with confidence. You have been fortunate to have had such a strong mentor by you side, Mr. Subhash Ghai, who has also been my guide in life.”

Thanking everyone present at the annual convocation ceremony, Meghna Ghai Puri, President, Whistling Woods International, said, “It’s a wonderful feeling to see these young students walk out today in the industry as trained young professionals. Most of them already have great jobs and the others have plans to pursue further studies. Eleven years ago, on the same date we had inaugurated this institute and pledged to create a world-class institution, which will make the industry proud. There is a strong sense of accomplishment and fulfillment amongst all of us at WWI today, as we gear up to take the journey further for many more decades to come. I congratulate the students and wish them all the very best for their future.”

Whistling Woods International boasts of more than 1600 alumni successfully working in the Media and Entertainment industry, having bagged prestigious projects in filmmaking, animation and acting.


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