Khudagawah – God is My Witness

We’re so close to meeting our fundraising campaign goal, so we thought we’d bring in Rebecca Soriano, who co-founded Scarecrow way back in 1988 with her late husband George Latsios, to tell one of the most amazing stories from our history and help carry things over the finish line. It’s the sort of story that sums up our dedication to sharing films from all over the world. Take it away, Rebecca!

“This is the movie. The one that is all Scarecrow. We fell in love with the movie and went to extreme measures to bring it to Seattle.

Fabulous Movie? Yes! Khudagawah was the highest grossing film of 1992 in India, and was the first Bollywood film to use surround sound. It won many Indian film awards and features a superb score, romance, action, and so many delightful musical numbers, in a wonderful delicious mix.

Extreme Measures? Yes! We sent two people to India to subtitle and make the master so we could put it on video, then released it ourselves in 1994.

Profitable Venture? Not at all! As with many Scarecrow ventures, it was more about the love of film than the profitability of the venture.

Worth it? Absolutely!! The Scarecrow version is still known for the being the best version of this film, even if it is only on VHS. It is widescreen, unedited with the most accurate subtitles.

In 1995, what started simply as a movie recommendation turned into a trip to India and a new venture for Scarecrow. After a weekly managers meeting someone (I believe it was general manager Patrick) mentioned that he thought I would like the movie Khudagawah. He said it was a Bollywood romantic epic with action, and fabulous music, and was stunningly shot. I was intrigued. I forgot about it. There were other movies to watch. Not until our marketing manager Norm Hill and I (and a bunch of the Scarecrow team) attended a screening at the Olympia Film Festival did I see the whole amazing film and fall in love with it. George and I made the decision then and there: we needed to have this film. It was extraordinary, everything I loved in a film. I could watch it over and over, and I did. And we thought that maybe other Scarecrow film lovers would like it too.

So, with the talents of the managers at Scarecrow, we negotiated to put the film on video, the long version, presented in its widescreen aspect ratio with new subtitles. It meant Norm and I going to India to do the subtitles and make the master, a trip I would never forget. Bombay craziness. Tea times while subtitling. A train ride to Delhi to meet filmmakers. Elephants. And the most amazing flavors of food and film. Norm working long hours painstakingly doing subtitles and gathering images for marketing.

It was done. We came home with a great movie, designed the box, sleeve and and all the little details that go into putting a movie on video.

It will never make its money back, but you can still rent it at Scarecrow and it is part of the Scarecrow story.”

Thanks Rebecca! And many thanks as well to everyone who has contributed to our fundraising campaign so far. We’re only a few thousand dollars away from our goal, so help us continue to be the guardians of Seattle’s cinematic memories, including this amazing one, into 2018 and beyond!

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