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Indian helmer sets up film school

Teachers will include Bollywood thesps, helmers

Multihyphenate Subhash Ghai’sMukta Arts and Mumbai’s Film City have set up the Whistling Woods Intl. film school on the Film City campus in Mumbai.

The school will start classes in July and boasts a teaching faculty including Bollywood actors Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi, helmers Ghai, Shyam Benegal and Aruna Raje.

Kurt Inderbitzin is dean of the school, which is affiliated with Canada’s Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology.

The board of governors includes producers David Puttnam, Sandy Climan, Simon Relph, former BBC chairman Christopher Bland, lifestyle guru Dr. Deepak Chopra and Silicon Valley venture capitalist Kanwal Rekhi. Bhikhu Parekh, a member of the British House of Lords, represents the Indian diaspora.

The Indian advisory board includes Bollywood thesps Dilip Kumar, Shah Rukh Khan and Om Puri; helmers Ashutosh Gowarikar, Karan Johar, Rakesh Mehra and Satish Kaushik. Business honchos like UTV’s Ronnie Screwvala, Nimbus Communications’ Akash Khurana also are on the committee.

The institute will offer courses in acting, filmmaking, cinematography, editing and animation among others. It’s expensive by Indian standards, charging between $15,000 and $22,000 for a two-year program.

The Indian film industry does not traditionally use cinema school grads, but the Film & Television Institute of Pune has been the alma mater of many of Bollywood’s stars, including Azmi and Shah.

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