New delhi: Vice President of India M. Venkaiah Naidu Monday 25 October called upon film makers to desist from depicting violence, gross vulgarity and obscenity in films.
Speaking after presenting the prestigious DadasahebPhalke Award to popular actor Rajnikanth and national awards to actors of cinemas of various languages, the Vice President said a film should be a vehicle with a higher purpose—a carrier of social, moral and ethical message. “Films should refrain from highlighting violence and should voice society’s disapproval of social evils,” he added.
Observing that a good film has the power to touch hearts and minds, Shri Naidu said cinema is the cheapest entertainment in the world and urged filmmakers and artists to use it for the betterment of the people, society and nation.
Stressing the need for cinema to usher in positivity and happiness, he said “Experience tells us that a film with a message has lasting appeal”. Apart from entertainment, cinema also has the power to provide enlightenment.
The Vice President advised the cinema industry not to do anything that weakens the great culture, traditions, values and ethos of our grand civilization. Indian films carry an important message to audiences across the world. They should portray a snapshot of ‘Indianness’ or ‘Bharatheeyatha’ to the outside world and need to be effective ambassadors in the world of cultural diplomacy, he stressed.
Referring to India’s soft power as the largest producer of films in the world, he said that our films are watched and appreciated across the world—in Japan and Egypt, China, the United States, Russia, the Middle East and Australia, and a host of other countries. “Films are among our foremost cultural exports and serve as a key link in connecting the global Indian community to the rhythms of life back home’, he added.
Observing that Cinema has no geographical or religious boundaries and speaks a universal language, he said the National Awards not only highlight the talent pool in the Indian film industry but also reflect its richness and diversity.
Pointing to the reality of climate change, the Vice President stressed the need for the film fraternity to highlight the importance of protecting nature. The COVID-19 pandemic too taught us the importance of respecting nature, he added.
Congratulating Shri Rajnikanth for winning this year’s DadasahebPhalke Award, he said that the iconic thespian’s unmatchable style and acting skills have indeed given a new dimension to the Indian film industry. Mentioning his memorable performances in MoondruMudichu, Sivaji: The Boss, Vayathinile, Bairavi, he said the Thalaivar epitomizes the perfect balance between artistic expression and mass appeal, something all young film-makers could do well to attempt.
The State of Sikkim received the most film-friendly state award.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur, Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting S Murugan, Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Apurva Chandra, Features Films Jury President N. Chandra, Non-Feature Films Jury President Arun Chadha and others were present.
Across the country, whether you are in the capital or or other big cities, towns, and villages; whether you live in a hut, makeshift shanty, a single-room tenement, a two room house or a three-bedroom luxury apartment. At a time when the Corona virus has locked everyone in their homes, you will find one thing common everywhere. It is the TV connected to the set top box or the broadband OTT platforms. This is the only means of entertainment. That too entertainment 24×7.
This contraption brings direct to your homes films – short films to the shortest and also the full-length movies. Apart from these, there are the Web movies, dramas and serials. Their theme is good, plot, acting, direction, music, everything is impeccable. Suspense also remains at peak.The whole family wants to watch it. But as there is only one TV in most houses, all have to watch it together! The latest films are now most easily available. When you start watching a films or tele-drama on your TV set, it is not easy to leave it midway.
Now the big question is…Can you watch most of what gets shown by different platforms and channels along with the whole family?
Answer is no. Why – Because often the characters are shown hurling the worst of abuses and there is no censor mechanism to mind their profanities.
In addition to these abuses, one also ends up watching crude gestures, endless sarcasm, inane scenes, sex perversions and a narrative that is often demeaning for a particular religion — all of it crossing the boundaries of vulgarity; all this is unnecessarily inserted in the movies and TV episodes. As if all this is the soul of these films and the non-inclusion of such trash will mean the film or the TV drama will fail to collect TRP.
There is another common scene that will be found in every film – the urinal -where the hero, the villain or his companions, while urinating, talk, make plans, make love and if there are enemies, they plot, play enmity, fight, and go for kidnappings and demonstrate shameless ways to urinate.
Members of cultured and civilised families find it difficult to make eye contact with others within the family after going through the routine of watching stuff on TV. They are only filled with regret – Why were they watching all this!
Anger against the TV Set
When mind is filled with anger, the heart wants to pick up the TV and just slam it; But it is not Pakistan where on losing a cricket match with India, they take out all their anger on TV. Here, in most households, there is just one TV that too more often than not is purchased on installments. So breaking the TV is out of question and the heart ends up grieving.
Why such movies & Drama
When ever a question is raised, the film makers say, they only produce what people want. One does not understand what is the compulsion of these filmmakers? What kind of mental deformity is this, why do they jump into the filth of excessive permissiveness, abuses, and vulgar dialogues.
The producers don’t even realise what they are serving to the masses in the name of films? What absurdity, and obscenity they are teaching to the younger generation, to what depths of promiscuity are they bent upon pushing our young boys and girls to. Unfortunately, all this us now within easy reach of our minor and innocent children through their smart phones?
Feeling of loss
Is it that no body is responsibility towards the country, towards the audience, and towards the society?
Answer is, Probably not.
Even if one agrees that no one is responsible towards the society, then what about the responsibility of the leaders towards their immediate families, parents, siblings, wives and children? It may be that they see no wrong and have also got their whole families in the same mould and they care a hoot for norms and the value system.
One fails to understand, who told them that only by riding piggyback on abusive riff-raff and filthy language and dialogues, and by using freedom of expression as excuse, their films will have better TRP, and they would climb the ladders of success and become rich by cutting the pockets of the audience?
Hey, every film Director and producer who is in the top bracket and is recognised for making good international standard films – for once, just once, make these films are free of dirt, then see how it will captivate millions of viewers like me.
Why is the Minister silent?
Even if one were to forgive these producers, one fails to understand what has happened to the I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar, his ministry, and the so-called Censor Board (The Board of Film Certification) and ruling party seniors? All of them claim to be upholders of Indian culture. They shout from rooftops about their commitment to the eternal cultural splendor of India. Is this the culture that they inherited from their ancestors? Is this the culture they have blindly accepted?
Anand Prakash, has been a career journalist. In Madhya Pradesh, he was the Bureau Chief of Hindustan for the Hindustan Times Group from mid-60s to mid-70s. Then he moved over to Delhi and covered Parliament for long years as a trail blazing Special Correspondent. He has also had a marathon innings, the longest by anybody, as President of the Hindustan Times Employees Union.
Today’s young men, like my son, will not understand the thrill of watching movies in dilapidated movie theaters, called Cinema Halls, in all our teen hood, school and college days spent in the 70s and 80s. Nowadays they watch movies on OTT platforms in the comfort of home or in swanky multiplexes chewing popcorn and drinking coke. In our days, movie watching was considered a taboo, especially Hindi movies, by “Bhadra Loks” (Gentry) of Kolkata. They were considered blasphemous because of blatant display of romantic contents, though censored mercilessly by custodians of socialist state.
My first movie was the 1966 Bengali classic “Subhas Chandra”. Still the tunes of “Ekbar biday de Ma ghure ashi” (“Bid me goodbye Mother”) by Lata Mangeskar, haunts me. All of our family watched in Meena Cinema in suburban locality of Sodepur. Next family viewing was Satyajit Ray’s 1969 classic “Gupi Gayen Bagha Bayen”. I watched it many more times. In different ages, the movie appeared to render different connotations and interpretations.
Another 1967 Uttam Kumar classic “Antony Firingi” I remember entirely for different reasons. It was a blockbuster in those days running in theaters for months together with “Housefull” signs hanging outside. It appears that my college going uncle and my school going sister went to watch the movie in Meena Cinema. Uncle, bunked the classes and sister went with her classmates, without the knowledge of their families. Both ducked spotting each other. In the afternoon, a big row broke out between them, each threatening to complain against each other to my stern father!!
My first brush with tabooed Hindi cinema was in 1972, on the occasion of my sister’s marriage. My wealthy youngest maternal uncle sponsored the Devanand and Zeenat Aman starrer 1971 classic “ Hare Rama Hare Krishna”. We all siblings from all different relations, including algebraic ones, went to watch in Sandhya theatre, near our house at Khardah. Almost two coveted back rows, with torn cushions, costing princely 2 Rs 25 Paise, were booked. Most of us were wearing fashionable yellow cotton shirts with “Hare Ram Rare Krishna” printed in Hindi. “Dum Maro Dum” song stuck to my brain, even till today.
When we reached teens, we started our rendezvous with Hindi films with our classmates. Those days, even now, movies used to be released on Fridays. I used to go every Thursday afternoon to Prafulla Cinema when giant posters on canvas of upcoming movies, used to be painted by dreary looking wizened artists. I used to be amazed how simple white chalk sketches metamorphosed into our favourite stars and heroines with strokes of rough brushes, dipped in paints, mixed on earthen pots of a variety of shapes.
We all friends belonged to the lower middle class, growing up with shortages of affluence. Pocket money was scarce and far between. We used to accumulate those precious pocket money to spend on our favourite film stars in opportune times.
We could afford only the front few wooden rows of the theatres costing 90 paise per seat. They were earlier 65 paise. But we used to rue the increase in our time. The ticket prices were fixed by the Government. We used to curse the Marxist Government for the misfortune which descended on us. You have to stand in a suffocating queue, pressed by rusted cast iron railings, swayed by the pressure of the crowd. Just 15 minute before the show time, the counter would open. You had to tender exact changes for the ticket. Maximum one to four tickets were allowed, depending upon box office success. If you delay in removing the hand, you will be caned by a burly fellow standing beside to discipline the queue. Every time, it was a survival from near stampede one.
We got hooked to Tequila, Ventures and Come September tunes, played invariably in all theaters, before the start of the movie.
There used to be Royal seats too, costing very much affordable 25 paise or “Char Ana”. You can pay the sum to the light man at the interval time to watch only second half. He will allow you to sit on the narrow floor on the ground, just in front of the first row. The strain on the neck was worth the main action being played in the second half. Most of us watched the beautiful song “dafli wale dafli baja” ( featuring Jayaprada and Rishi Kapoor in the 1979 classic “Sargam”) many a time by paying for Royal seat. Sometimes the light man will throw coins at the screen, like in romantic classic “Satyam Sivam Sundaram”, which will be followed by in copycat manner by the audience. After the show, the light man will collect the accumulated coins happily.
Many of us were influenced greatly by the characters in the movies. Some of us, after watching “Sholay”, all time hit, started behaving thug like, a la Amzad Khan. After getting influenced by the Amitabh Bachchan classic, “Yarana”, one of my classmate decorated his brand new shirt, with copycat dog collar, gifted to him for Durga Puja celebration, with a lining of flickering LED bulbs. Mithunda’s “Disco Dancer” movie influenced my friend so much that he became sought after street dancer in immersion processions of Goddess Durga, for many many years.
I never had the fate to watch romantic movies comfortably. I went to watch a rerun of the romantic classic “Julie” in Priya theatre in Ballygunge. The chairs were full of bedbugs (or chair bugs?), half the fans were not working. The stuffiness was unbearable, forcing us to occupy the windows and watch movies with windows open.Priya is the only theatre which boasted a series of windows. I went to watch a rerun of another classic “Bobby” in a theater in Tollygunge. Fifteen minutes into the movie, the high tide of the Hoogly River, flowing by, flooded the hall and we had to watch the movie virtually standing on the seat.
I cherish my days in Narendrapur Ramakrishna Mission. It was a very strict residential campus, needed a lot of paperwork and convincing the hostel super to go out of campus. Movie going students devised the gate number 2.5, on the wall somewhere between gate numbers 2 and 3. Enterprising students created soil mounds on both sides of the wall, making it easier to jump over the wall to freedom. Strict omerta was clamped to maintain secrecy.
Mostly we were nocturnal animals, preferring night shows as it was easier to get tickets. Only disadvantage was that when you return to the hostel, the gate will be closed. We have found a way of removing the vertical rods in the windows in the ground floor and entering. We nicknamed those gates as 11 (eleven) no. gate.
I remember, we were returning from the night show after watching Sandhya Roy starrer Bengali blockbuster “Ganadevata”. Narendrapur had 25% students who were visually handicapped. One such student went to watch the movie along with us. While returning, in the Garia bus stop, that blind gentleman had an urge to smoke. But he forgot the vital accessory- match box. He asked for one matchbox from the gentleman, waiting at the bus stop. He politely lit the match. Both the faces got illuminated briefly. To our horror, that gentleman was none other than our Bengali language professor and a tough one. By coincidence, all the members of the group started scoring pathetically afterwards in his examinations.
I got bored by seeing all studious boys preparing the previous day of the tough mathematics examination in the Higher secondary board. I went alone for the night show for the rerun of the Bachchan-Rajesh Khanna classic “Anand”. On my return, I safely negotiated both the gate nos. 2.5 and 11. When I was entering my room, I was caught by Hostel Super and it will be an understatement, if I say, I was given an earful. No wonder, higher degrees eluded me.
If I look back, those days, teens in Kolkata schools and colleges were broadly classified in two groups. A small group, known for passion for movies, especially Hindi ones. They never hesitated to bunk classes to pursue their passion. The dominant rest were generally obedient and innocent. The first group became bankers, scientists, politicians, real estate tycoons, entrepreneurs, CEOs, VPs, MNC honchos, celebrated medical professionals, top engineers, innovators, IIT Directors, space scientists, historians, philosophers, authors, poets, Naxalites, MLAs, Ministers, well known thugs etc. etc. And the second type became “Bhadralok (Gentlemen)”, maintaining Kolkata’s glorious traditions and ethos.
Tapan Misra is a world renowned distinguished scientist. He is ex-Director Space Application Centre and Advisor Department of Space, Government of India.
An Engineered Dream wins Best Film in Non-Feature Film category, Marakkar-Arabikkadalinte-Simham bags Best Feature Film award
Maharshi wins Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment; Anandi Gopal takes the award for Best Film on Social Issues
B Praak wins Best Male Playback Singer for ‘Teri Mitti’ from the movie Kesari; Oththa Seruppu Size-7 bags Special Jury Award
Dhanush and Manoj Bajpayee share the award for Best Actor
Kangana Ranaut wins Best Actress award for Manikarnika-The Queen of Jhansi and Panga
The Jury for the 67th National Film Awards announced the winners for the year 2019 here today. Ahead of the announcement, the Chairperson and other Jury members called on the Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shri Prakash Javadekar and presented him with the selections for the Awards. The Jury comprised of eminent film makers and film personalities from across the Indian cine-world. The awards were announced by Shri N. Chandra, Chairman, Central Panel, Shri Arun Chaddha, Chairman, Non Feature Films Jury, Shri Shaji N Karun, Chairman, Most Film Friendly State Jury and Shri Saibal Chatterjee, Chairman Best Writing on Cinema Jury.
An Engineered Dream, a hindi film has bagged the award for Best Non-Feature Film while Marakkar-Arabikkadalinte-Simham has taken home the award for Best Feature Film. Kastoori has been awarded Best Children’s Film award. Shrikshetra- Ru-Sahijata has won the best Arts and Culture Film.
Sikkim has bagged the award for being Most Film Friendly State. Savani Ravindra has won Best Female Playback Singer for her song Raan Petala from the Marathi movie Bardo. Gireesh Gangadharan has been awarded Best Cinematography for the Malayalam film Jallikkettu.
A complete list of the awards is given below.
67th National Film Awards, 2019
Most Film Friendly State Award
Rajat Kamal & Certificate
67th National Film Awards, 2019
Best Writing on Cinema
Award for Best Book on Cinema:
Title of the Book
Name of the Author
Name of the Publisher
Medal and Cash prize
A GANDHIAN AFFAIR: INDIA’S CURIOS PORTRAYAL OF LOVE IN CINEMA