Filmmaker Subhash Ghai conducted a Master Class on the ‘Future on Indian Cinema’ at the Black Box, Kala Academy, on November 24.
In his talk Ghai said that while cinema is meant to be a reflection of society, unfortunately, Indian cinema has not been tapped to its full potential. “Our mainstream films are all the same. Nothing has changed though Indian cinema has completed 100 years”, he said.
However, he conceded that Indian viewers today are slowly being exposed to serious cinema, which tackle issues predominant to our society.
Ghai, who chose to take up filmmaking as a career after being inspired by the film ‘Ten Commandments’, which he saw as a schoolboy of standard nine, credited the early worldwide recognition of Indian cinema to Satyajit Ray.
Indian cinema is commercialised and mere entertainment, he said, though he was also quick to admit to making commercially successful potboilers himself as they allowed him the luxuries of life.
Commenting on mainstream and art cinema in India, he said: “Both can disappoint the viewer. Art films today have so much of sexually explicit content that behenjis run away from theatres, and the film cannot be viewed at home.”
Talking about cinema’s potential to act as a major ambassador for our country he rued the fact that Indian films lacked good content, narrative and ideas. “We still like to adapt Hollywood or European cinema. Why can’t we be creative?” he questioned. To buttress his point he cited the example of Richard Attenborough’s ‘Gandhi’. “Is it not unfortunate that no Indian filmmaker thought of making this film?”
“What we have now in the industry are doers. What we actually need are thinkers and ideators”, said Ghai, who felt that in this venture the government could actually play a significant role.