“Cinema has evolved with technology as a more democratic medium”: Govind Nihalani

KOLKATA: Indian film director, cinematographer, screenwriter and producer Govind Nihalani, who has proved the power of his cinema through his television series ‘Tamas’, vehemently believes that cinema has evolved with technology as a more democratic medium.


“Cinema is a very powerful medium. It acts as a dialogue between the filmmaker and his viewers. It can convince you to pick up a gun and kill someone,” Nihalani said, on the sidelines of the ongoing 20th Kolkata International Film Festival.


‘Tamas’ is not a daily soap. It deals with the issue of national importance. The emphasis is on the characters and evoking of the period when the partition took place, makes it different from other soaps. “I think it will have a small relevance even today. These programmes are not even being made today,” he said.


“In these times of hope and convictions, cinema will never die because it has tremendous possibility of creating magic, poetry and change,” he further added.


On the context of shifting from his usual “serious” content to an animated movie, he mentioned that one should always keep expanding one’s horizon. With reference to digital technology taking over celluloid and the advantages it provides he said, “Technology is all that you want and it will get better with time.” He appreciated Japanese animation as an ingenious art form, but added that it will be sometime before India embraces such content in animation.


Nihalani has been the recipient of six national film awards (India). His first directorial venture was Aakrosh starring Om Puri, Naseeruddin Shah, the late Smita Patil and the late Amrish Puri. The film is scripted by Marathi playwright Vijay Tendulkar. The film shared the Golden Peacock for best film at the International Film Festival of India held in New Delhi in 1981. He then directed Ardh Satya, based on a story by S. D. Panwalkar. The film has received critical reception for depicting the police-politician-criminal nexus. In 1997, he adapted Bengali novelist, Mahasweta Devi’s acclaimed novel by the same name to Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa.


While interacting with movie lovers, Nihalani flashed upon his memories of a chat session with Sandeeep Ray (son of famous film-maker Satyajit Ray) on Mahasweta Devi’s novel.


“On a moment like this, I delve into my past when I first met Mr. Ray, two decades later I dared to call him Manik da,” he said.


Nihalani put forth his initial days with the master and expressed his gratitude when Ray narrated Pikoo’s Diary to him from the very first shot to the last. “It’s very important for a filmmaker to remain relevant to his times and be connected to his reality, his harsh reality,” he concluded by echoing Ray’s words.

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