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‘Intellectuals are becoming a burden on society’

Internationally acclaimed Indian filmmaker and chairperson of the International Jury for the 46th International Film Festival of India 2015, Shekhar Kapur brushed off the growing intolerance among intellectuals in the country by stating that intellectuals are becoming a burden on the (Indian) society.

“Today what is happening in India is a change, and friction is a part of this change,” Kapur said, pointing out, “If any culture doesn’t undergo a change, it will fester.” He also observed that the debate taking place on the issue of intolerance is great, further maintained that the scenario of intolerance has existed in the country for long.

“In fact, I would also like to have the opinion of those 40 per cent people in the country, who don’t have anything to eat or say,” said the maker of films like ‘Masoom’ (1983), ‘Mr India’ (1987) and ‘Bandit Queen’ (1994), stressing that their voices should also come out. “The problem is that the voice of intellectuals in this country has also become the voice of these 40 per cent people,” he said, retorting that the intelligentsia has become a club, and its arrogance has turned oppressive.

Speaking about the 15 entries under the International Competition Section, at the ongoing film festival, Kapur said that the quality of films he watched scared him. “We all, the jury members, were apprehensive in the beginning, but as days went by, very imaginative films were screened, some of which were very good,” he said, stating that jury members always fight hard to judge movies, and become enemies, especially when these films are good.

“If two creative people completely agree with each other, then they are lying as in creativity there are always differences,” said the director of international movies such as ‘Elizabeth’ (1998), ‘The four Feathers’ (2002) and ‘Elizabeth: The Golden Age’ (2007).

Responding to a question with regard to making films for children, Kapur said: “The big mistake on the part of the filmmakers of children’s films is that they become teachers.” “The children, on the other hand watch films based on superheroes like Batman, Spiderman and so on,” said the senior filmmaker, stating that children are already bored in their classroom, so why bore them in the theatre too. “By the time these children are 15, not only are they a good film audience, but very sophisticated filmmakers making films on their cell phones,” he opined, noting that he has already made ‘Mr India’, a children’s film, and now someone else can direct its sequel.

Speaking about his film in the pipeline- ‘Paani’, Kapur said he would start shooting the film as soon as he gets financial resources, which would not interfere with his creativity. “Unfortunately funding agencies have their own agenda, which is evident from the conditions put up by some major water corporations, who wanted to fund the film,” he revealed, mentioning that if one analyses and follows the global water situation, one will find that ground water is being bought by international companies. The film ‘Paani’ is a futuristic Romeo and Juliet story set in Mumbai, in 2010 AD, when water is the greatest wealth, due to its acute scarcity.

The filmmaker known for announcing and shelving a number of projects said that bottled water in nothing but privatisation of water. “To whom does the water belong once it is taken out from the ground, and does water as a resource belong to people or is it only for the benefit of the multinationals and investment banks, are questions, which need to be answered,” he said, observing that water has become a weapon of war now.

Speaking about his maternal uncle, Dev Anand, Kapur said he was a big star, with a huge fan following and as an evergreen matinee idol was romancing girls of 18 when he himself was 80. “And the people accepted him,” he said, adding that the International Film Festival of India should analyse one of his films, ‘Guide’ (1965), directed by Vijay Anand, as its story matter is strong.

Speaking about IFFI, Kapur said the festival was given a 10 year period, when it arrived in Goa, just as people predicted that it would collapse in a year’s time. “IFFI was supposed to focus on the cinema of Asia and Africa,” he said, stating that people are now watching some of the best films in the world at this film festival, and it would need another five years to reach the global benchmark.

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