A day before the National Awards ceremony in Delhi, some of cinema’s key movers and shakers like Shekhar Kapur and Prasoon Joshi came together to discuss the takeaways from the awards and other industry-related matters.
I&B Minister Smriti Irani pointed out that she tells the administrators that their job, their responsibility, is to ensure that the letter of the law is followed but to leave the creative vertical to do what it does best. “You can’t teach a Shekhar Kapur how to discuss the craft or how to implement the craft, or how to judge the craft. What you can do is make the environment for him conducive enough for free thinking. At the same time, you have to be conscious of the fact that he doesn’t use it as a platform for implementing his personal agenda,” she added.
Declaring that we, as an industry, have lost too much time, she said, “There was a time when everybody was very proud of the fact that independent filmmakers, small filmmakers, had that ecosystem of support. That has degenerated over a number of years. We have to now resurrect that process.”
The Minister shared a suggestion that a small number of the films which bag National Awards be curated and taken to Cannes. Showcasing these films would be a great way “to show you our prowess as a nation, the diversity of our language, the diversity of our craft.”
She also added that people no longer look at just the lead actor or the lead actress of a film. “Now, they look at other actors and go and watch a film for other actors as well, who should not really be called “supporting” actors. And there are also actors who are deigned stars, who are making some very, very good choices even in Hindi cinema. Alia Bhatt is how old, barely 24-25. How many different films, what a brilliant, big, huge body of work and so diverse! Or when I saw Bareilly Ki Barfi, I laughed my head off, I can’t take Pankaj Tripathi out of my head.”
With the energies and the intent in the right place, it looks like good times are in store for even little jewels of films from smaller industries like the Marathi and even the Ladakhi film industry.