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We lack creative ambition: Ketan Mehta on self-created barriers in Indian cinema


On the opening day of the Jagran Film Festival, a panel discussion on the future of cinema delved into the changing landscape of cinema aided by technological advancements.

Sukhpreet Kahlon

The 10th edition of the Jagran Film Festival was kicked off at Delhi's Siri Fort auditorium yesterday. A panel discussion on the 'Future of Cinema... Breaking Language Barriers in Indian Cinema' was held with producer Shobu Yarlagadda of Baahubali fame and filmmaker Ketan Mehta in conversation with critic Rajeev Masand.

Describing technological advances in cinema and their impact, Mehta observed, “I believe the next battle is about mindspace. Now we carry entertainment with us in our pocket. That’s a major transformation as there has been a qualitative paradigm shift in the way in which we are consuming cinema.”

Taking the thought forward, the filmmaker said, “I think the ICE age is here — Information, Communication, Entertainment.”

Mehta congratulated Yarlagadda for his vision and conviction in making Baahubali: The Beginning (2015) and Baahubali: The Conclusion (2017) while lamenting the fact that cinema in India is limited by regions. “We lack creative ambition in India," he said. "There is no reason why we [our films] shouldn’t be talking to the whole world.”

Yarlagadda, whose production house Arka Media Works produced India's biggest grossing movies, agreed. “In order to stay alive in cinema we [regional cinemas] need to come together to achieve the power of scale,” he said. He cited the example of Baahubali’s resounding success in places like Japan, where they had never imagined the kind of reaction they received.

The discussion also covered technological advancements in cinema and stressed that technology is an enabler but it cannot supplant good content. Describing Baahubali's journey, Yarlagadda said, “The story is the main driver. VFX has to support it.”

Contemplating the future of the moving image, Mehta concurred, saying, “I think this is the last phase of the 2D, 3D screens. The next phase is going to be totally immersive and that’s very exciting.”

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Jagran Film Festival