Stressing on the fact that cinema is not only for entertainment but also for enlightenment, the Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, M Venkaiah Naidu lamented that the Indian films are moving away from realism, and the way a woman is being presently portrayed in films is a matter of concern.
“We need to break the stereotypes in our films as cinema can be an effective tool of social change,” Naidu maintained, adding that films can go a long way towards arousing national consciousness as also engaging youth in social construction and nation building, by successful adoption of good moral and educative themes. “Today, many of our commercial films are crashing because they are lacking in creativity in handling a theme, with filmmakers getting too lazy and as a result content is becoming a casualty,” he pointed out while stressing that Indian cinema has to co-exists with reality.
The Union IB Minister was addressing a gathering of film personalities, celebrities and delegates of the International Film Festival of India 2016, during the opening ceremony of the annual mega film event, which raised the curtain on the 9-day cinematic odyssey.
The Governor, Mridula Sinha, the Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, the Union Minister for AYUSH, Shripad Naik, the Chief Minister, Laxmikant Parsekar, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea, Cho Hyun, the Secretary for Information for Broadcasting, Ajay Mittal, and the Chief Secretary, R K Srivastava were present at the ceremony.
Speaking further, Naidu said that the recent demonetisation of the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes is the cleansing process through which India is presently going through. “It is a part of MODI campaign that is Making of Developed India (MODI) campaign,” Naidu maintained, stating that the demonetisation should be viewed as Swatchh Bharat Abhiyan. He also quipped that there exists some bad money everywhere, in society, in politics and in the film industry, and we need to get rid of it at the earliest, so that we can have a peaceful life and a progressive future.
It was also informed that exactly 70 years ago, the South Indian producer, director, actor, B R Panthulu had made a film on the demonetisation in the country titled, ‘Vijayalakshmi’ (1946), which presented the negative role of money sharks working for their own interest, at the cost of the common man. “Seventy years later, our people are still suffering due to such greedy sharks, due to which the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has set into motion this process of demonetisation of high value currency notes,” Naidu noted, adding that the first people to welcome this move are from the film industry, who have welcomed it on twitter.
Stating that government of India has taken certain measures to support the film industry, including single window film felicitation office related to the National Films Development Corporation as well as National Film Heritage Mission, the Union IB Minister said that the government is committed to work with the film industry in a more meaningful collaborative manner.
Maintaining that people, instead of the Censor Board, will ultimately decide about the fate of the films, Naidu said that with an aim to improve the Cinematography Act, the government is actively considering the report of the Shyam Benegal Committee as well as the Justice Mudgal Committee. He also said that some 30 representatives of the film industry recently met him over a roundtable meeting and discussed few problems of the industry, including those in film certification, which would be duly addressed and responded.
“IFFI is a celebration of cinema, which is a religion of all religions, and in India cinema is a religion without boundaries,” Naidu maintained, paying tributes to all filmmakers starting with Dadasaheb Phalke, who contributed to the emergence of this religion.
On a lighter note, Naidu said that cinema has to be cinema, and if the filmmakers go and make cinema as per the advice of the government, then their films would never succeed.
The ceremony witnessed acclaimed singer, S P Balasubrahmanyam being awarded with the Centenary Award for Indian Film Personality of the Year 2016, for his contribution to Indian cinema. It also honoured the renowned Korean filmmaker, Im Kwon Taek with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the festival.
The international jury for IFFI 2016, led by the acclaimed writer-director Ivan Passer as its chairperson, and including film personalities namely Larry Smith, Lordan Zafranovic, Nagesh Kukunoor and Leilda Kilani were felicitated on the occasion.
The 47th edition of the film festival will screen close to 200 films from 90 countries.
“We have come a long way from 2004, and years even before that. However, we must keep in mind that the year 2004 marked a milestone for Goans here. That was the year our beautiful state was declared as the venue of this prestigious film festival, for the first time. Subsequently in 2014 again, the government of India went a step ahead and declared Goa as the permanent IFFI venue. The festival contributes to the understanding and appreciation of the film culture of different nations, through the diversity displayed within its film selection. Konkani cinema has developed through this esteemed festival. In fact, IFFI even provides a platform to Goan filmmakers to showcase their talent in a special section dedicated to Konkani and Marathi feature as well as non-feature films.”
— Laxmikant Parsekar, Chief Minister
“This festival surely demonstrates the strong film industry and also very colourful culture of India. I am particularly honoured because Korea is invited as the Focus Country at the film festival, this year. The relationship between India and Korea has been thriving, politically and economically. Nevertheless, I believe, what is most important is our cultural relationship, and people-to-people connectivity. I believe this is just the beginning. Throughout this film festival, we will talk about how we can work together and in the near future, I believe, we will produce some joint films. I look forward to that.”
— Cho Hyun, Ambassador, Republic of Korea
“I am not here today, as they say for ‘Sholay’ – ‘Sholay’ is there, it’s always there – I am here because I love cinema. Cinema is the most beautiful thing for me. I have worked for more than 50 years in cinema, and there is nothing I love more than cinema. I was most touched by that wonderful show, which said very, very eloquently, it’s a women’s world that’s coming. It’s there already and it’s going to take over. Better be ready. We have to help them take over. I think we are going to enjoy the festival we are going to enjoy the films here. I know cinema cannot be only inspiring, it has to be entertaining. But then why can it not also be inspiring? Why can it not inculcate emotions, social values, and help us look for a better tomorrow; make this country have a better tomorrow?”
— Ramesh Sippy, Filmmaker