Friday, February 26, 2016

ADOOR GOPALAKRISHNAN on film society movement.

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Question about film society movement.
by .VK Cherian
  1. Do you agree with the view that the entire film society movement was a policy initiative of the Nehruvians to find a Indian idiom in cinema? I so why?

A:  I can’t say if it was a planned initiative by the Nehruvians. But the SK Patil Committee appointed by the Nehru Govt. had recommended many measures to improve the standards of the Indian film industry – like setting up a film institute, institution of national awards, a film financing institution, the national film archive etc.  I can’t recall if the film society movement was on their agenda. The film society movement has always been a voluntary affair. It had no other agenda than viewing films and spreading film culture. In the post independence period, it assumed size and spread and many intellectuals were attracted to serious cinema.

There was of course this instance of Mrs. Indira Gandhi, then I&B Minister, brought in Ms. Marie Seton to advise the Govt. on how to promote film culture. She was in India and even wrote a book called ‘Film Appreciation’ which was published by the Ministry of Education. 

2. Has the film society movement helped you to enter the kind of film genre you have entered in the initial days of your feature film making? Has the movement given you the right audience?

A: I am an academically trained filmmaker.  I have studied cinema at the Film Institute in Pune (second batch). I was very clear about what I wanted to do. In fact, I went on to start the movement in Karalla because firstly I wanted the intelligentsia in Kerala to become aware of a cinema of high caliber that existed in the world outside. Also,   I wanted to continue watching international cinema after leaving the Film Institute.
The film society movement is not a mass movement. It is aimed a small discreet audience, good critics and passionate film lovers.
3. Is it the lack of official policy support which has led to the fall of the film society outside the Film Institute as well. Or
is it the technological changes which have led to its fall from glory of 70s and 80s?

A, The situation of film viewing has changed considerably in the past two or three decades, The TV channels, DD (for a brief period) as well as private ones started screening world cinema. And the spread of VHS tapes and later CDs and DVDs of international cinema made it possible for the cine enthusiast to buy and view them at convenience. In place of one film festival till the end of 80s we now have a film festival in every region of the country. All this may have caused a certain drop in enthusiasm to form film societies as well as frequent them.

4. How do you see the future of the
film society movement and also the film genre which you have been identified with?

As for the future course of film societies, it should change its character. It should grow in to Academy cinemas where selected outstanding films are screened regularly for the interested public and discussed.
It would become possible with the institution of a chain of such cinemas in the metropolises and big towns of the country. This is an area where the Govt. can step in and act positively.
Even an enterprising distributor can do wonders to take notable cinema around the country and screen it profitably.

5. Has your kind of films lost its relevance in India now and how do you see its future?

A: My kind of cinema is not the one that has been attracting huge crowds or celebrating jubilees. It always had a discreet audience in my home state and to some extent outside as well. Some of them had done very well at the box office, some not so well. It depends on each film, its subject and treatment. The response can vary according the cultural mood of the society. Categorical conclusions cannot be made on the basis of this.
6. Given the present situation do think Indian films can resist the Holly wood takeover in the near future?

A: Hollywood would never take over the Indian film industry because we have several cinemas. Our output of bad commercial films is large, it will resist the onslaught of Hollywood.  A good example is Slum dog millionaire. It did so well in the west but failed to impress the Indian audience.

7. What according to you will save the Nehruvian vision about the Indian films? Or is there a need to save it at all?

A: The only way to save and foster a film culture is to introduce the young audiences in schools to the charm and beauty and worthiness of good cinema. Like good literature and good taste, they need to imbibe it early in their lives. Instead what are we feeding them on?


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