Celebrate Bollywood's strengths: Mahesh Bhatt

Focus on the strengths of India's film industry rather than aping the west.

That was the main theme of the session - The New Aesthetics of Popular Cinema - on the second and final day of Frames 2002.

Mahesh Bhatt chaired the session devoted to film making that included big names from showbiz including critically acclaimed director, Govind Nihalani, who presented a number of ideas, insights and inferences.

The afternoon saw the highly opinionated Bhatt lash out at Bollywood's incessant fixation with lts Californian counterpart. The noted movie maker stressed that Bollywood needed to be proud of its Indian roots, including colourful song-dance routines and stop endorsing the West blindly.

Replying to an audience member's query, Bhatt dismissed the Oscars as "just another marketing event" and asserted that the Indian film industry had enough power to take on the world. Though he added that Indian cinema was in its "infancy" and would really come of age when the movie making tools became easily available to creatively inclined youngsters with fresh ideas and scripts.

Nihalani echoed this sentiment, pointing out the evil of plagiarising from Hollywood and deeming it ridiculous. He urged that bettering script writing and getting newer story ideas was the need of the hour with Bhatt suggesting that Bollywood suffered from a lack of talent spotters rather than original talent.

He advised interested youngsters to think 'reverse' of our normal film financing formula, which raises about 75 per cent of the required monies from local markets and expects the other 25 per cent from the overseas markets, while planning to make an off beat movie. He further suggested that strong ideas be sold to venture capitalists for funding.

The session also examined other areas briefly. These included Jabbar Patel touching upon the dismal condition of Marathi cinema and Bhatt's insights on cable TV and the menace of video piracy.

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