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    Feb 2010


    Default Like minded filmmakers come together and ask for 200 crores for mini theatres

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    To celebrate, commemorate and archive 100 years of Indian cinema the government has apparently allotted a staggering 600 crore rupees.

    Filmmakers Onir, Aparna Sen, Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Gautam Ghosh, Umesh Kulkarni, Sachin Kundalkar, Jahnu Baruah, Suman Mukhopadhyay, Subhash Kapoor, Rituparno Ghosh, Vinay Shukla, Nila Madhab Pandya, Janaki Vishwanathan and Resul Pookutty will now campaign to get Rs 200 crores to build 400 mini-theatres across the country.

    Confirming these startling developments (when was the last time filmmakers questioned where the government funds allotted to help the cause of cinema was actually going?) Onir says, “We desperately need small theatres to screen non-mainstream independent films which often find themselves at the mercy of the multiplexes. They would rather screen the blockbusters and show their generosity to us independent filmmakers by giving us random morning shows when no one goes to the movies. We need theatres that would cater exclusively to the smaller-budgeted independent films. So yes, 14 of us filmmakers, most of them National Award winners, are campaigning for Rs 200 crores of the 600 crores set aside for 100 years of Indian cinema to build theatres which would certainly have more lasting value than any other kind of on-the-spot celebration. Let’s make sure there are theatres for our kind of cinema. Or else there may not be anything left for independent filmmakers to celebrate 100 years hence.”

    One of the filmmaker-petitioners on condition of anonymity questioned the use being made of the Rs 600 crores . “One hears of grandiose plans to celebrate 100 years of cinema. NFDC is apparently working on ‘restoring’ the classics. I am sorry, but restoration is what Martin Scorcese did to Uday Shankar’s Kalpana. By just making digital formats out of a dozen randomly chosen films we aren’t really doing any service to Indian cinema. And where are the true classics of Indian cinema by Satyajit Ray, Ritwick Ghatak, Bimal Roy and L V Prasad? All talk on classics of Indian cinema begins with Guru Dutt and ends with Yash Chopra. Today’s filmmakers drop a few ‘legendary’ names in their speeches and feel they’ve done their bit for cinema. We need to let younger generations understand the genesis of Indian cinema. We need theatres, not theatrics.”

    Adds Resul Pookutty, “Yes, we’re getting together to ask for the Rs 200 crores from the Rs 600 crores reportedly allotted to celebrate a 100 years of cinema, to be set aside to build small cinemas all over the country. It’s a reasonable demand and one that would substantially ease the pressure on independent filmmakers on how to get a decent release for their films.”



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