Kathakaar, Piyush Mishra

Kathakaar, a film made by our students and alumni revolves around Prakash, an old theatre projectionist is fired from his job and has to come back to his village. Struggling with what to do with his life, he one day narrates a story for a crying kid. Slowly he becomes the favourite story teller in the village and rediscovers his passion.

Till date, the film has been officially selected and have 13 festival wins. A few awards that the film has received are,

  • Best International Short Film- 5th Vancouver International South Asian Film Festival, 2015
  • Best Short Film (JURY) – 5th Washington D.C. South Asian Film Festival, Washington D.C., 2016
  • Competitor Award- II International Motivational Film Festival BRIDGE of ARTS, Rostov-on-Don, Russia, 2016

We had a chat with the lead actor, Piyush Mishra on and about the film, Kathakaar. Here’s what he has to say!

Q1: What made you to accept and act in the film Kathakaar?

Ans: It is no rocket science, my 36 years of experience helped me to identify the worth of the character and I went ahead and accepted the role, purely out of my gut feeling. Also, as it is a student film, I gauged that there would be something special about this film and in the character journey.

However, I was apprehensive about only one thing – how will such an intense journey be portrayed in the film in such a little time?, but looking the way the film has come out, I am very happy to be a part of this film.

Q2: What aspect of the film ‘Kathakaar’ appealed to you the most? Also, tell us something about the character you have played in the film.

Ans: Narration has been a part of our story-telling tradition since times immemorial. Based on the story-telling narrative, the form of ‘Cinema’ evolved. Cinema, since ages and across boundaries, have borrowed its format from the art of story-telling combined with technological innovation. Films like, Roman Holiday, Bridge on the River Kwai are among my favourites for their story-telling narrative.

Scripts written by Charlie Chaplin and D.W. Griffith brought in the aspect of story-telling through shot-breakdown.

In the recent years, technical and technological innovation in cinema have altered the process of story-telling.

In the film, Kathaakar, the character that I have played learns the art of story-telling from Cinema and he is passionate story-teller, and thus, finds way to continue to tell stories in his own way even after he is out of the job. This topic is of personal interest to me and because the character is a story-teller it got my attention. Hence it was an easy choice for me to accept the role. Also, to help the character grow, quotes from old films helped me a lot and fell in line with my thoughts of bringing these quotes forward to the public again. I have used quotes from the film Sholay, Anand, Mr. India. These lines as originally written by acclaimed writers, were not written just for the sake of it; rather, these lines help us to gauge the socio-political condition prevalent in that era in the country.

However, while agreeing to play this character I had no clue that this film will be so successful and gain accolades from across the world.

Q3: What is your take on WWI and the training that it imparts? How was your experience working with WWI students? How trained or professional are they according to you? 

Ans: I have known Mr. Subhash Ghai for many years now, and he has set up this institute with a purpose to give students the best of film and media education. Students won’t get disappointed after joining this institute.

The location of the institute in Mumbai, the media hub of the country, makes it easier for students to access the industry for hands-on exposure and experience of working in the industry. This is an ideal institute for students to learn about the industry.

It is very important for institutes to have an amazing campus, and Whistling Woods International campus is brilliant, with a huge campus, open spaces, where students can spend time at ease and think of new and interesting ideas, unlike just being enclosed in a classroom.

The teachers are very helpful, they always make time to help their students. They are very interested in the progress of the students and love to see them grow. I have worked with the institute in the past as well and have seen how the teachers corporate with the students.

As Mr. Subhash Ghai is a very reputed member of the film industry, dignitaries in the film and media industry heartily accepts invitation to visit the campus and conduct lectures and masterclasses that help students to learn from professionals.

Q4: While doing it, did you expect the film to do this well at the festival circuit, that too globally?

Ans: I as an actor, give credit to the director to execute his vision. The director visualises and the rest of us just contribute.

As an actor, in my opinion, it is very important to forget about a project once it’s done and move ahead with your work.  No matter how big or small a film is, I have never carried the burden of my previous projects while working on a new one. However, It feels great to know that a student movie is being appreciated and gaining accolades in the global film circuit.

Q5: Do you think every age group will identify with the story depicted in the film, or is it for a specific genre?

Ans: Everyone can identify with any story. With technology, cinema has reached the remotest area of the country.  A story never dies.

Village life has completely vanished from our cinemas, we concentrate more on modern life, I crave to see stories based in villages, but in this movie we get to see that simple village life all over again which makes it applicable everywhere.

This is a film that anybody and everybody who loves stories, will relate to it.

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Launching School of Design in association with Ecole de Communication Visuelle

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Today, we launched our latest venture Whistling Woods International School of Design in association with Ecole de Communication Visuelle (ECV), a leading Design school in France. With this school, we will be offering India’s first full time Degree program in Visual & Communication Design in association with The Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS).

dsc_0282Unveiled at a grand opening conducted at our campus, the launch was initiated by the traditional lighting of the lamp, graced by key representatives of our institute and ECV including Subhash Ghai, Founder & Chairman, WWI; Meghna Puri, President, WWI; Rahul Puri, Head of Academics, WWI; Patrick Hermand, Founder, ECV, and Xavier Masse, Dean, ECV, Paris and Director, International Curriculum Development. The event also witnessed participation of the advisory board members, who are also notable professionals from the industry such as Subhash Awchat, Omung Kumar, Sethunath Padmanabhan, Neeraj Roy, Rouble Nagi, and Farid Bawa.


A one-of-its-kind institute, School of Design offers Bachelor’s in Visual Communication and Design, which is a comprehensive three year programme, divided into six semesters. The school aims to inculcate an extraordinary concept of education that goes by the tagline, ‘Do What You Love’. The idea behind the school is to focus on making the students industry ready through a unique style of training, which allows them to pursue further education at ECV, France. This platform will fulfill the need of a formal and constructive place where people can get together, develop a network and have a state-of-the-art infrastructure to help them achieve their dreams.

dsc05759Subhash Ghai, our Chairman and Founder,  said, This is a proud moment for all of us, as a dream that had been taking shape over the last few years, has turned into reality. We feel honored to have collaborated with ECV, a Design institution that has earned a name for itself on the global map. The rationale behind this collaboration is to bring a unique global perspective to the curriculum, which would go a long way in shaping aspiring Design & Communication students to become world class professionals.”

The first year of the programme will provide a perfect foundation for the students, who will learn the basics of Art, Aesthetics, Drawing, Multimedia, Colour Theory, and Design Principles, thereby developing a thorough understanding of the arena as a whole. In their next two years, students will be introduced to detailed areas of skill development such as Corporate Design, Typography, Art Direction, Web Design, Design Processes, and Publishing Design.  Live projects and multiple internships will bring students up-close and personal with the industry they aspire to be in, lending a 360 degree approach to the entire programme.

dsc05865Commenting on the partnership, Founder, ECV, Patrick Hermand, said, “ECV is over 30 years old with a presence in 5 cities across France, along-with an active international network across 60 organisations. We believe that ‘design’ is the core to everything you do, and we are confident that Whistling Woods International School of Design will help aspirants in this dynamic field, to become thorough professionals. Whistling Woods International has a very high reputation in the industry with regards to the technology & quality of education they provide, and we are extremely excited to partner with them for this venture.”

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5th Veda Session with Shiamak Davar

dsc05178“Dance is not just an art form, it’s a spiritual experience”, said the dance Guru Shiamak Davar at the 5th Veda session.

The 5th Veda auditorium of our institute resonated with enthusiasm and excitement at the presence of world-class choreographer, Shiamak Davar. He brought the 4th edition of the 5th Veda cultural hub to a close with an action-packed session on various western dance forms that have found home in India. Shiamak brought in a whole lot of cheer, energy and motivation amongst the 400 students by making them dance to the tunes of WWI anthem, which was the highlight of the evening.

The highlight of the event also included a documentary created on a mesmerising act, Selcouth, choreographed by Shiamak Davar and performed by his students. The screening of the AVs were followed by an engaging Q&A session with Shiamak Davar and his student Aneesha, moderated by Subhash Ghai, Founder and Chairman, WWI.

During the session, Shiamak touched upon various aspects of his life – downfalls, barriers and struggles, precious moments and people who supported him, that helped him become what he is today. He also demonstrated various dance moves with his and WWI students to give an in-depth knowledge about the various dance forms. He also elaborated on how dance is not only an art form but a spiritual experience. It not only needs practice but also patience to learn and earn the fame you deserve.

He categorically mentioned that “Never let fame play the game”. Believing in yourself and your capabilities is important to outstand, but never let it go to your head. During his interaction, he told the students that they are very lucky to be a part of WWI and learn under the mentorship of the multi-talented showman of the Hindi film industry, Subhash Ghai.

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5th Veda Session with singer, Javed Ali

dsc04171“Knowledge of an art form is the utmost important aspect”, said the versatile rockstar Javed Ali at the 5th Veda session.

Young and talented singing heartthrob of Indian Cinema, Javed Ali touched the souls of a number of young hearts with his mesmerising musical performance at the 5th Veda session. He not only sang and entertained the audiences but also gave some important lessons to the students of School of Music, WWI. 5th Veda session this week was conducted in a different format where students moderated the session and did some brilliant performances and practices with Ali.

Javed Ali, a singer known for his contribution to Indian Cinema has not only made his name big in the Hindi film industry but is also extremely popular with other regional language music (i.e) Tamil, Telegu, Bengali amongst others. He has also contributed to various genres of music like Qawwali, Sufi, Folk, Romantic and Classical, to name a few. Ali, mentioned while addressing the students that the Knowledge of music was the only thing his father emphasised on during his training days. According to his father, “knowledge of music is much more important than practicing it.”

He also advised the music students to do riyaz only when one feels like practicing. The only motive to practice music it to practice for yourself, music is never done with an objective, it has to be the voice of your soul only then will it do justice to the listeners and your hardwork. He also quoted “Fame always comes with responsibilities; one must know how to deal with those responsibilities before their claim to fame”.

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During the interaction with the students, WWI auditorium thundered with claps on his performance of ‘Aa Ja Oo Meri Tamanna’ from Ajab Prem Ki Gajab Kahaani & ‘Kun Faya’ from Rockstar amongst others. While signing off Ali also mentioned that students at WWI are lucky to have a mentor like Subhash Ghai who has precise knowledge of music himself.

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5th Veda with the team of ‘Selfie’

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The versatile television lady leads performed the spectacular theatre play ‘SELFIE’ written and produced by director Paritosh Painter and directed by Tanaaz Irani, at the 5th Veda session. Engaging the audience for over two hours the play touched the souls and left the auditorium with a standing ovation and endless claps for over 5 minutes. The crowd of 400 students not only enjoyed the play but also learned different aspects of direction, during the play.

With the lead ladies – Tanaaz Irani, Kishwer Merchant, Shweta Gulati, Priya Malik and Dimple Shah this play came into existence in July 2016. ‘SELFIE’ is Tanaaz Irani’s third directorial play but by far is the most successful one in terms of the response received from the audiences.

Irani, known for her appearance on small & big screen said “There is a difference of perspective when a lady director directs a play/movie/theatre. This play showcases the nuances, which will show a woman’s perspective over emotions differently.” She also mentioned never be afraid of hardwork and have enough patience, I’ve also waited for such a script for 15 years to be proud of what I have made.

Subhash Ghai, Founder & Chairman, WWI thanked the ‘SELFIE’ team who performed the play at the 5th Veda Cultural session. While closing the session he said, “We are glad Paritosh and Tanaaz accepted our offer to perform in our campus. The response we observed today by 400 students of WWI in not imaginary, it’s simply amazing to observe the thunder of claps for such a duration, clearly which means something spectacular just happened. ‘SELFIE’ is not only a play about various emotions but is also a mirror to various characters women have to observe in their day to day life. We are thankful to all the artist who took the pains and made this possible today at WWI.”

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Celebrate Cinema 2016

14440817_10154673602366015_8792606798909537420_nOver 4000 aspirants attended 42 workshops at Celebrate Cinema’16 held at our campus.

It was a treat for all the film lovers along with our students to attend workshops, screenings and panel discussions amidst the festivity, as they participated in the biggest celebration hosted in the field of Indian Cinema, Celebrate Cinema 2016, by the ultimate showman, Subhash Ghai, at his dream institute. Participants learned the basics of movie making and allied arts in the world of cinema, media and digital media through various workshops held over two action-packed days.

In the lush green campus of WWI with existing YouTube Space and SONY Media Technology Centre, the participants experienced state-of-the-art infrastructure, technologies and facilities. They learned the tricks of various aspects of filmmaking and media studies under the guidance of experienced faculties and industry guests, starting from the inauguration ceremony on September 29, 2016 to the closing ceremony on October 01, 2016. WWI campus offered several amazing workshops, exhibits, screenings, celebrity-studded panel discussions and masterclasses at Celebrate Cinema 2016. Amazing street plays and short films made by our students on various subjects including journey of cinema and social causes like ‘Drug Abuse’ were showcased at the festival.

The purpose of Celebrate Cinema as an annual property of WWI is to invite students from all sections of society to learn, participate in activities and win awards and scholarships and motivate them in opting media courses as a mainstream career option. During the course of the event, Meghna Ghai Puri, President, WWI also awarded scholarships to two underpriviledged students.

Over 70 experts including celebrities from Indian Cinema and Media industry participated in ‘Celebrate Cinema 2016’. Celebrities and prominent personalities who visited the campus included names like Directors – Vishal Bhardwaj, Anand L Rai, Abhishek Chaubey, Satish Kaushik, Actors – Boman Irani, Ritesh Deshmukh , Mahima Chaudhry, Swara Bhaskar, Shreyas Talpade, Gulshan Grover, Jim Sarbh and Shashank Arora, Writer – Sudip Sharma interacted with the students, sharing their experiences, struggles and secrets of success.

Highlights of the 5th edition of Celebrate Cinema included the inaugural session where students under various societies of WWI, under the mentorship of Subhash Ghai displayed their talent to the  audience and media. ‘WWI Society for Social Causes’ screened three short films on ‘Drug Abuse, which received thundering applauds. Film ‘Udta Punjab’, a film on drug abuse was screened followed by a masterclass with director Abhishek Chaubey and writer Sudeep Sharma. The session was amazingly moderated by Subhash Ghai along with special invitees,Dr. Eldered Tellis heading the NGO named, Sankalp Foundation Trust along with a victim who revealed how he indulged into drugs and his rehab after 9 years.

Other highlights included three street plays by ‘WWI Drama Society’ for two days in the campus for visiting students and aspirants. ‘WWI Singers and Poet’s Society’ staged a musical show at the inaugural ceremony supported by WWI School of Music students. WWI 5th Veda team screened a short documentary on Indian Cinema collated by the team of students.

Anu Malik shared the secret of his National award winning song ‘Yeh Moh Moh Ke Dhaage’ during his interaction with the students. WWI School of Music student, Vaishnavi, surprised the audience with her performance of a song written and sung in Japanese language. Subhash Ghai screened his short film on communal harmony made in 1993 with stars kids Ranbir Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor and Tiger Shroff along with their fathers.

Meghna Ghai Puri and her team were the perfect host, who received 4000 participants from various NGOs and colleges. Rahul Puri, Head of Academics and Chaitanya Chinchlikar, Vice President, organised over 40 workshops, masterclasses, screenings and panel discussions on each and every subject related to media and film industry by 70 experts from the industry and faculty members of WWI.

At the closing ceremony Subhash Ghai moderated an open panel discussion on ‘Film Director – Actor Relationship’ with panelists Mahima Chaudhry, Shreyas Talpade, Gulshan Grover and Satish Kaushik. All the celebrities spoke about their relationship with various directors including Subhash Ghai and the grandeur festival, Celebrate Cinema’16 hosted by Whistling Woods International came to a close.

Subhash Ghai thanked the media and other guests who became a part of the two day action-packed festival.

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5th Veda session with Nawazuddin Siddiqui

dsc00978“Undying passion to practice acting daily for 10 years is what helped me in this craft” said Nawazuddin Siddiqui at the 5th Veda session.

The house-full auditorium shouted out loud to experience an event of lifetime – an interactive session with India’s one of the finest actor, Nawazuddin Siddiqui. The actor not only shared his experience of struggle of 20 years but also several anecdotes from his journey, from live theatre to mainstream cinema.

The session kicked off with an interesting AV on acting as a talent, followed by a documentary on key mainstream actors who made their way to success through rough paths. The AVs were followed by an intellectual Q&A session moderated by our Founder and Chairman, Subhash Ghai. Nawazuddin felt welcomed and was touched by the gratitude and love expressed by the students and staff of the institute.

During the session Nawazuddin recalled his college and early acting days, where he faced an unmatched struggle. He related himself to the present batch of WWI and shared all possible aspects, barriers and struggles he faced, before the ‘claim to fame’. He told the students that “being an educated actor helped me immensely. Yet it was important to know not to take myself too seriously.”

The versatile actor not only engaged with the students about his journey and experiences but also shared with them several acting tips and his secret mantra to success. While addressing the students he mentioned, ‘Undying passion of practice for 10 years is the key to his success and stardom today’. Nawazuddin explained the students on how live theatre and mainstream cinema are both equally challenging in their own capacities and also performed some characters from his plays and movies to give the audience an experience of both platforms.

The highlight of the evening was the tribute paid to the actor by our students, who showcased their acting skills and were appreciated for their efforts and talents by the renowned actor himself. During his interaction with the students he also mentioned how fortunate they were to be a part of an institute like Whistling Woods International, to nurture their skills under the expertise and guidance of the ultimate showman, Subhash Ghai and they must make the most of it.

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