Indian film industry should look beyond markets and help nurture universal human values and inclusiveness: Pranab Mukherjee
62nd National Film Awards – India
New Delhi: Indian President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday took pride in stating that the mainstream Hindi cinema is internationally recognized but at the same time, he also empasised that focused efforts be made to project the regional films whose content is equally impressive and deserves global attention.
The President was speaking at the 62nd National Film Awards function. he said that Cinema in India crosses all boundaries of region, caste, creed and religion. It reflects the immense diversity of our nation which is home to different cultures, religions and languages. It shows the confluence of modernity and tradition as well as our ancient past and billion aspirations for the future. Digitization and the advent of modern technologies do not mean that we lose touch with the grass roots. Our content has to be our strength as it is entrenched deeply in our vibrant cultural milieu.
The President urged the film industry to look beyond markets and work together to help nurture universal human values that draw on our rich civilizational heritage that celebrates diversity and nurtures inclusiveness. We might remember here the iconic , a great filmmaker famously said ‘Cinema is no art for me. It is only a means to the end of serving my people’.
On the impact of digitization of film screens, Mukherjee said that these have allowed distributors to release films simultaneously across multiple screens which allows 60 to 80 per cent of theatrical revenues to be collected in the first week itself, something which was unheard of in the past. We need to reinforce this trend by ensuring the building of more screens for the overall health of our cinema.
The focussed attention on initiatives beiing staken by the Government of India for strengthening and promoting Indian cinema and the film industry. The Government is planning to set up a National Centre of Excellence for Animation, Gaming, and Visual Effects. A National Film Heritage Mission is to be undertaken by the National Film Archives of India for conservation/preservation, restoration and digitization of films made in the country. The Government also proposes to set up a Film Facilitation Unit which will act as a facilitation point for filmmakers and production houses from foreign countries to enable them come to India and shoot their films in India. I am confident these measures will provide significant impetus to the growth of our film industry.
We live in a rapidly changing world to which the film industry will have to adjust and adapt, the president asserted adding technology has brought down the costs of production and expanded the mechanisms of dissemination. Still cameras and cell phones that record video can be now edited on a home computer and uploaded on the net. Promotion and marketing of films have now taken on a new avatar with substantial marketing happening on social media – news of a good film now spreads quicker on twitter than by word of mouth. I also understand 2014 saw the launch of four film and entertainment focussed investment funds which is welcome evidence of the growing corporatisation of the sector.
The President congratulated veteran actor Shashi Kapoor who has been honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award this year and said his contribution to cinema has been manifold and tremendous. He is a true living legend.
Kapoor began his career as a child artist in the films Aag and Awara, and then we saw him as a flamboyant hero in many blockbuster films. He made his mark not only as an actor but also as a producer with remarkable contributions to Indian Cinema even while he expertly balanced two lives in theatre and cinema, Mukherjee went on to observe.
The President took special note of the fact that Shashi Kapoor is the third person to win the Dadasaheb Phalke Award from his illustrious family, the others being – Prithviraj Kapoor and Raj Kapoor. He went on to compliment the entire family that has given so much to Indian cinema.
Going to the roots of Indian Cinema, Mukherjee said that it has been an integral part of Indian culture and entertainment from the days of Dadasaheb Phalke’s Raja Harish Chandra of 1913, the first film made in India. Indian cinema transcends national boundaries and is a powerful purveyor of ideas and values that impact the consciousness of millions of people. Our movies not only showcase the multicultural diversity of our country but is also a tribute to our linguistic richness. They are a national treasure and our country’s “soft power” in the true sense of the term, forging international ties and navigating global horizons with ease.
The President underscored the fact that the Indian film industry is today the largest film industry in the world in terms of number of movies being produced. With about 1600 films made every year, the film industry is today a force to reckon with, he said pointing out that it has a turnover of a magnitude of Rs. 102600 crores or US $ 16.14 billion. With the world’s youngest demography and the growing smartphone market, our country is likely to soon embrace a completely digital ecosystem which would help us connect with even larger numbers transcending geographical and cultural barriers, the president emphasised.
On the impact of digitization of film screens, Mukherjee said that these have allowed distributors to release films simultaneously across multiple screens which allows 60 to 80 per cent of theatrical revenues to be collected in the first week itself, something which was unheard of in the past. We need to reinforce this trend by ensuring the building of more screens for the overall health of our cinema. Technology, he said, has brought down the costs of production and expanded the mechanisms of dissemination. Still cameras and cell phones that record video can be now edited on a home computer and uploaded on the net. Promotion and marketing of films have now taken on a new avatar with substantial marketing happening on social media – news of a good film now spreads quicker on twitter than by word of mouth. I also understand 2014 saw the launch of four film and entertainment focused investment funds which is welcome evidence of the growing corporatisation of the sector.
You have done India proud and placed our cinema yet again on the global radar.
Today’s Awards, Mukherjee said are testimony to the fact that Indian cinema continues to brim and overflow with amazing talent. I am told that this year yet again the youth have made their mark. The winner of the Best Film Award, Chaitanya Tamhane is only 27 years old. His film “Court” has already created waves in the International Film Festivals. I am also delighted that the winner of the Best Female Playback Singer this year is young Uthara, who is all of ten years old. The flowering of creativity among our youth holds tremendous promise for the future. It reassures us that we will continue to lead the world not just in number of films produced but also in the quality of our cinema and the top class talent in our industry.
Over the years the national awards, Mukherjee observed, have stood for excellence in all aspects of cinema in various relevant categories recognising talent in feature, non-feature, regional, technical, parallel and popular genres. For those striving towards the pinnacle of success in celluloid, herein lies the greatest honour in this country. We must applaud the hard work and toil of all those who have been tireless in their efforts of achieving the end – which is to create a perfect work of art borne out by their creative imagination, technical prowess and knowledge of their field and choice of subject.