Movies

Filmmakers should draw on Indian heritage and culture: Patil

NEW DELHI: President Pratibha Devisingh Patil has said the film industry today faces the challenge of balancing and catering to a new generation of viewers and a growing middle class which is more able to and more capable of spending on entertainment.


"Our heritage and culture is a great source of knowledge, which can be drawn upon to develop storylines that can appeal to our younger audiences, by making them more appealing and presenting them in the contemporary context," said Patil.


Presenting the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for 2008 to veteran cinematographer V K Murthy and the 56th National Film Awards, she said "it is true that the audience in India, which is the market for films, is undergoing transformation" and this is leading to an increasing demand for better cinematography and overall quality of films. "Other media of entertainment such as television and the internet are also factors that are influencing the film industry, its approach and its outreach," she said.


She said great care must be taken in the manner in which creativity finds expression and quoted a famous film director having observed that "what is really important for a creator, is not what it is we want to say, recall, regret, or rebel against, but what is important is the way we say it, as art is all about craftsmanship."


Cinema has an immense influence on thinking and on lifestyles of the young generation and "there is much positive energy that can be generated by using films, for conveying the message of good values to society and also eradicating harmful social evils," she added.


Noting that there was a time when Indian films were said to be influenced by films from the west, she said this had given way to a two-way interaction. "Our diverse and growing film sector is being noticed and indeed, wooed around the world. Our film industry is beginning to influence the foreign film industry, both financially and creatively. This has resulted in increased collaborations between the Indian film industry and Hollywood."


She said during her trips overseas, references are made to the popularity of Indian films and their role in promoting cultural understanding. "Our film industry can play a part in bringing a progressive and fast developing India, anchored in thousands of years of a rich civilization, to the minds of viewers", she added.


At the outset, she said Indian cinema was a vast ocean with a variety that was enviable. Therefore, she said cinema needed to be continuously nurtured "as a part of our efforts to not only excel in making films, but also to use it as a medium to tell our stories, as well as give expression to the importance of a humane approach in life."


Speaking on the occasion, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said the Expert Committee constituted to suggest changes in the National Film Awards had completed its deliberations. The Committee had been set up recognizing the sweeping changes that have come about in the film industry across all aspects of production, distribution, exhibition and marketing, with the advent of new ideas, new business models and new technologies. The Ministry also proposed to spearhead the participation and promotion of Indian cinema in key markets and festivals abroad in a much bigger way, she said.


Soni noted that the robust growth and development of the film industry in India was high on the agenda of the Government and the Ministry was ready to facilitate this process in every possible way.


For the first time the ceremony was hosted by film personalities - Divya Dutta and Ashutosh Rana. Hariharan gave a live rendition of his award winning song in the Marathi film “Jogva’, “Jeev Dangla Gungla Rangla”, and Bonnie Chakravorty performed the Best choreographed award winning song of “Jodhaa Akbar’, ”Azeem-o– shaan Shahenshah”.


Murthy received a standing ovation as he received his award, the first ever to be given to a cinematographer. One hundred thirty awardees in 69 categories received their Swaran and Rajat Kamal medals along with cash rewards.

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