News

Mukesh Khanna upset at being cold-shouldered by I&B minister Smriti Irani


The chairman of the Children's Film Society of India is yet to receive a response to his resignation letter.

IANS

Veteran actor Mukesh Khanna, who submitted his resignation as chairperson of the Children's Film Society of India (CFSI) just months short of the end of his three-year term, says he is yet to receive a response from the Union information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry.

Khanna, known for his roles in television shows like Shaktimaan and Mahabharat, had resigned citing issues in the working process at CFSI, a nodal governmental organization that produces children's films and television shows in various languages.

Khanna told the IANS news agency: "So far I have not received any response. I am waiting for their decision. However, I want that before I leave, people should at least know what is the problem that CSFI is going through, so that in the near future it can get resolved."

The actor's tenure as CFSI chief is to end in April 2018.

About the issues he faced, Khanna said: "Our film Tennis Buddies was ready for release and some distributors [were willing to] invest money for a theatrical release when I came across these problems. They [the bureaucrats] advised me to make the film popular by showing it on Doordarshan.

"I asked who will go to the theatres to watch the film after watching it on TV. I got no answer.

"Though there are distributors ready to invest in children's films, the process of getting approval from the I&B ministry is too long and time-consuming. It takes months. Not only that, there is a tender system which is creating a problem about bringing investors."

The actor said it is tough to convince investors to finance the theatrical release of children's films. "Due to the tender process, distributors take a step back. When I appealed to have some joint venture where CSFI and other companies can join hands for a film's release, I was told such concepts work in the National Film Development Corporation but not here.

"It took three consecutive meetings for me to establish that CSFI has a clause for joint ventures. But by the time they agreed, the funds got exhausted. So I had to inform the distributors to hold the thought.

"Who works like this? This is unfair to children's films and their entertainment," Khanna said while expressing the hope that the future would be bright for movie content for the younger lot.

"So far, whatever films we made travelled to festivals and won awards. Most of them are not commercially released. If I look closely at the matter, most of those films are not entertaining enough to hold the attention of children. So I want to make films that have enough entertainment value to get a theatrical release, because the prime audience of those films is children."

Asked if he had spoken to I&B minister Smriti Irani, Khanna said, "Since she is a former television actress and knows the entertainment industry, I had expected her to address the issue. [But] in the past four months, though I wrote a letter to her seeking an appointment, I did not receive any response. This is also one of the reasons why I am really upset."