Shah Makes a Splash on Bollywood and at Worldfest

Ash Shah, the Executive Producer of the new movie Benoy, Badal, Dennis

Ash Shah, the Executive Producer of the new movie Benoy, Badal, Dennis

By Manu Shah

HOUSTON: The 46th Annual Worldfest-Houston International Film Festival will premiere 150 new Feature and Short Indie Films at the AMC Studio 30 on Dunvale starting this weekend from April 12 through 21. This year, one of the entries – Binoy, Badal, Dennis, starring Naseeruddin Shah, Jimmy Shergil, K.K. Menon, Shauvik Kundagrami and Sandhya Mridul  (showing on Thursday, April 18) has a very special Bayou City connection. The Executive Producer for the movie is none other than a well-known Houston entrepreneur, businessman, and philanthropist, Ash Shah.

As one of the financiers of the $2 million budget film, Shah’s is candid about the fact that this is a commercial film and they do hope to make money but he also shares his excitement about helping bring good movies to the silver screen.

Ash sha2

An avid movie buff, Shah’s admits flirting with the idea of getting into the movie business for a while now.  A meeting with Director Anjan Dutta a few years ago in Houston sparked his interest in Anjan’s narration of a possible story for a movie. A few lively discussions followed, ideas were swapped, suggestions were seriously considered and Ash made up his mind to finance the movie.  The fact that Naseeruddin Shah had been roped in to play the pivotal role of a corrupt politician was but icing on the cake.

The storyline deals with three men, Binoy, Badal and Dennis, who decide to right a wrong done to them by a manipulative politician. The idea of angry young men taking the law into their own hands is not a new one but what makes BBD different, according to Shah, is that the three protagonists are not aware of each other until the very end. The storyline has historical echoes of three lesser-known freedom fighters, Binoy, Badal and Dinesh who had plotted against General Dyer for the Jallianwala bagh tragedy.  A social message about communal harmony is also interwoven in the 118 minute long movie.

Shah is the Managing Director of Impex International, a $28 million company that manufactures a wide range of plastic films for many brands. He has also dabbled in several other businesses along the way, and divested them when the opportunity was right. He and his wife Leena are active in several charitable organizations like Akshay Patra and Pratham, and donate generously. They are a down-to-earth couple who greet you with a warm and friendly hello.

Shah describes his first foray in the movie industry as an “overwhelming and emotional” experience.  While not totally unaware of what it entailed, he still describes it as an eye opener to see the amount of forethought, preparation and time spent behind the scenes to bring it all together in three short hours before a demanding audience.

Asked to name five favorite movies, Shah quickly rattled off Titanic, Mohabaatein, Sixth Sense, Devdas and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam as his all-time favorites.  He laughingly admits to a strong streak of romanticism and is looking forward to landing a role in his next movie venture. Clearly, it’s not just the “bottom line” that interests this businessman; it’s also about having fun along the way!