Bollywood is identifying itself with Bhartiya cultural roots. Some recent films have captured the national imagination and also created ripples at the box office. These films have created a necessity for the Indian film industry to redefine its roadmap
As Bharat readies itself to celebrate diamond jubilee of its Independance from foreign rule, various fields and professions in national public life are taking stock of their achievements till date to define the future course of work. Indian film industry is also one of such fields which is trying to reorganise itself and redraw the paths for the future.
A two-day national seminar on Indian Film Industry titled “Cine Srishti Bharatiya Drishti” recently held in Mumbai University and organised by Sanskar Bharati and CineTalkies tried to redefine the future course of work for the next 25 years.
Indian film Industry is mainly recognised as Bollywood; that’s Hindi film industry based in Mumbai and which in the recent past is known for films which are detached from Indian cultural roots. But some recent movies which have tried to connect to Indian cultural roots, have made record breaking business at the box office. Those films created a necessity for the Indian film industry to redefine its roadmap.
‘There are so many unsung heroes from the freedom struggle and the Indian War of Independence, if one decides to make movies on them, it will be sufficient content for the next two to three decades’
–Arjun Ram Meghwal, Union Minister for State for Culture
Speaking exclusively to Organiser, Satchidanand Joshi, an academician of repute, who is also an office bearer of Sanskar Bharati, said recognising Indian film industry as Bollywood, which is a Mumbai-based Hindi film industry, is a great mistake. “The Indian film industry is way beyond Hindi films and is very rich and more diverse with respect to content and quality, more rooted to Indian culture.”
Cinema As Narrative Builder
Various speakers touched upon the important subject “Cinema As Narrative Builder”. “This era is an era of narratives and we should understand it clearly,” said Dr. Satchidanand Joshi While Shri Subhash Ghai, Dr Chandraprakash Dwivedi, Shri Nitish Bhardwaj, mentioned “War of Narratives”, and tried to explain how to create Indian narrative, Arun Shekhar of CineTalkies said that the narratives created through cinema must be positive. Nitish Bhardwaj said that there are two streams within the Indian film industry. One is trying to follow Indian ethos, recent example being The Kashmir Files, while the other one is of the pan-India films which is trying to be anti-establishment by glamourising “angry young man” images. Shri Bhardwaj questioned “the necessity” of “angry young man” in today’s context, and asked the film fraternity to find out if they are overdoing it.
Tracing the deep roots of Indian culture in various folklores, Union Minister for State for Culture Shri Arjun Ram Meghwal said that those folklores be made into movies. He said, “There are so many unsung heroes from the freedom struggle and the Indian War of Independence, if one decides to make movies on them, it will be sufficient content for the next two to three decades.”
Shri Meghawalji insisted upon the Indian film industry to also create films on stories from Puranas and Upanishads. He narrated stories of Mainabai, guru of Maangadh’s tribal area and Gangu Mehtar, a hero of the 1857 War of Independence.
Hence there should be a cinema telling Mainabai’s story to the world, said Meghwalji.
While Mainabai was a court singer who taught a virtue from Upanishads to Swami Vivekanand when he avoided listening to her singing, Govind Guru was a monk who organised Bhilla and other communities from Mangadh’s tribal area to fight against the British Raj. And Gangu Mehatar was a war hero from 1857, who single handedly killed two hundred British soldiers in a couple of hours of sword fight in a battle.
Chanakya fame Dr Chandraprakash Dwivedi traced the roots of cinema art to the Natya Shastra, propagated by Bharat muni in ancient times. He quoted from the ancient scripts and equated the situation faced by Bharat muni when he presented his first staged drama with the situation in current times.
The seminar saw famous film personalities speaking their minds on how Bhartiya cinema can grow exponentially. Noting that she felt proud to be part of the largest cinema industry in the world, veteran Bollywood actress Asha Parekh said the film industry has such a major influence over the common public that the brains of commoners are totally captured by cinema. “The cinema industry was known only for entertainment in the early stages, which gradually developed into a thought provoking art and many social issues were raised and given solutions through cinema.”
While speaking exclusively to Organiser, actor director and producer Nitish Bharadwaj said that this seminar will define the route of Indian cinema for the next 25 years. “Cinema has always remained an influential medium to put across a message powerfully, for example Bimal Roy films like Sujatha, Bandini etc. It has been always used to create new opinions and create new thought processes among societies, used to put up narratives and create influence. It’s always like that in the last 75 years. Hence I am looking forward to this seminar hoping to get guidelines for the next 25 years. I have my own thought process about cinema and Indian culture and history. I would like to get an idea through this seminar about what went wrong and what should be the course correction. This should enable me to contribute significantly to create Bharat which we all want to see in the next 25 years, through my cinema.”
While acknowledging that films churned by Hollywood have been watched with open mind, the actor said now the need of the hour is to publicise Indian stories and artists through Indian Cinemas to the world. “I think India is a unique country which has a very rich history and culture that should be put up before the new generation.”