Sughand Films was founded in the early 1990's when the production houses, were churning out formulaic Hindi “Masala” movies created more with an eye on box office collections than on concept or cinematic storytelling. Jhamu Sughand believed that while there was a place for the Masala movies, there was a crying need to create groundbreaking Hindi cinema that was rooted in cinematic storytelling. He then took it upon himself to usher in this new glorious era, and along with his brother Harish Sughand set up Sughand Films.
In the following words, he etched his vision for Sughand Films:
We are a Film Production House that will always place immense focus on the content first and foremost will execute the making of the movie with the best professionals (directors, actors, technicians) in the most cost-effective manner, depending on the budget that a particular subject demands to do proper justice to it.
True to his vision, within a few years of inception, Sughand Films produced two path-breaking movies in the Hindi Film industry that became benchmarks for the entire industry. The first, Mani Ratnam’s Bombay(1995), which was a very brave move since the topic was highly sensitive and revolved around Hindu-Muslim riots of 1993, but Mr. Jhamu Sughand believed that “this story needs to be told.” Bombay not only did exceedingly well at the box office, but also received much critical acclaim; for Mani Ratnam’s unique direction, for A.R.Rahman’s soulful music, and for the superior production values that raised the movie to a whole new level. His other production, Rangeela(1995), which was a lighthearted romantic turned out to be be a landmark in Aamir Khan’s career and was also a rage for its youthful music, and at many levels, redefined ‘Bollywood’ for good. To give further impetus to his vision of transforming the Hindi film industry, Sughand Films then went on to produce Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999) and then Aks (1999). History bears witness that every movie Jhamu Sughand produced has proved to be a game-changer, making Sughand Films one of the most respected names in the Hindi film industry and Jhamu Sughand the most sought-after producers of the times. Such was the respect he commanded that even the biggest names in the industry would happily go out of their way to accede to his request as they trusted his word and vision completely.
Having worked his magic on Hindi cinema, Jhamu Sughand wished to widen his horizons to touch the entire Indian film industry. This he did, by starting to produce movies in other Indian languages, notably in Marathi and Bengali. Here too, as with the Hindi cinema industry, he not only won great accolades, but sowed the seeds of transformation in these film industries too. Today, various producers have begun to especially produce Marathi films, decades after Jhamu Sughand saw the dream of a diverse Indian cinemascape in which great concepts were being explored in cinema across various Indian languages. This foray too met with resounding success as his first Marathi movie, Astitva directed by Mahesh Manjrekar was awarded the 2000 National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Marathi, and subsequently National Film Award for Best Feature Film for Kaalpurush (Bengali) directed by Buddhadeb Dasgupta. His stupendous success truly reached crescendo when he produced Lagaan directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, that besides winning national acclaim went on to get nominated for an Academy Award. Jhamu Sughand often said, “I invest in people”, and this is borne out in every movie that he produced; he truly had an uncanny knack of spotting the best people as well as the best in people.
What makes him a true legend is that JhamuSughand’s tryst with the glamorous world of Hindi cinema had very humble beginnings. When he moved to Mumbai in 1979 and started a printing press specialising in film merchandise, little would one have imagined that this simple yetyet distinctive personality would, in the years to come, leave such an indelible imprint in the face of Indian cinema and would have distributed over 100 films in his glorious career spanning about two decades.