Movies

Strike balance between entertainment and social relevance: Patil

NEW DELHI: President Pratibha Devisingh Patil today exhorted filmmakers to "consider themselves as social leaders and as stakeholders in the welfare of people as striking a balance between entertainment and social relevance is an essential call for the industry and the response will define its role in society."


Speaking after presenting the 41st Dadasaheb Phalke award for lifetime contribution to noted filmmaker D Ramanaidu and the 57th National Film Awards for 2009, Patil said "cinema is a very potent medium for conveying a message and it has become an important factor in influencing social norms. Cinema operates within the context of a social scenario and, thus, has a stake in the stability, prosperity and progress of society."


She said cinema had immense popularity and so there were high expectations from it to provide entertainment. Referring to the rich cultural heritage of India and the stories passed on from generation to generation through music and dance, she said "these numerous historical and cultural accounts as well as daily-life situations provide a rich resource for cinema. These stories can be told meaningfully so that value-based ideals and points of view can motivate viewers to noble goals in their lives."


She expressed satisfaction that films continued to generate interest and attract talent and a large number of films have been entered from debut directors. "Moreover, technologies like the digital format being affordable provide an opportunity for young and budding filmmakers to experiment with the medium. I would like to appeal to all of you that, while you are experimenting with the format, you also need to keep in your mind, the content of the film you are producing. This will take your work to a wider audience."


While appreciating the ‘good number of entries both in the feature and non-feature sections for the year 2009’, she expressed the hope that in the coming years there would be more entries in the best film critic section as well, "since film appreciation or healthy criticism is a very important aspect in the growth, understanding and development of cinema as an art form."


Ramanaidu received a standing ovation as he was given the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, the nation’s highest contribution for lifetime achievement in cinema.


There was loud applause when Amitabh Bachchan – who was present with his wife Jaya, son Abhishek and daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai – went up to receive the best actor award which his third national award for his role in the film Paa.


Ananya Chatterjee got the best actress award for her role in the Bengali film Abohoman by Rituparno Ghosh who also received the best director award.


The Malayalam film Kutty Srank directed by the Shaji N Karun got the best feature film of the year award, and also four other awards in different categories.


Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said the year 2013 which marks a centenary of the release of India’s first indigenous feature film Raja Harishchandra will be celebrated as a centenary milestone to showcase the cinematic heritage of the Indian film industry. For this purpose a National Committee would be constituted consisting of eminent film persons and other stakeholders to suggest a comprehensive plan for making it a truly memorable event for cine lovers. The centenary celebrations would also offer an opportunity to applaud the young iconic members of the film industry for their contribution, while at the same time positioning India as a "Soft Power" at a global level.


She said the Ministry would utilize this platform to showcase India’s cinematic brilliance across the country as well as globally. As part of the centenary celebration plans, Soni said it was her endeavour to complete three institutional mechanisms to mark the occasion. These included the Museum of Indian Cinema in Mumbai; the National Centre of Excellence for Animation, Gaming and Visual Effects in Pune; and the National Archival Heritage Mission to cover country’s rich archival wealth by 2013. The National Archival Heritage Mission would not only safeguard the rich archival wealth, it would also ensure accessibility to the people in digital format.


Soni also outlined the process undertaken for selecting the current awards on the basis of the recommendations of an Expert Committee headed by eminent filmmaker Shyam Benegal, re-introducing the two-tier jury system and introducing new awards.


Ministers of State for I&B S Jagathrakshkan and Chowdhury Mohan Jatua, I&B Secretary Raghu Menon, Additional Secretary Rajiv Takru, and Director of Film Festivals SM Khan were also present.

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