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IFFI: Making cinema should not be magical, says Prasoon Joshi


In his masterclass on the second day of the festival, the lyricist and CBFC chairperson stressed the importance of intentionally crafting good films.

Prasoon Joshi speaks on the second day of the International Film Festival of India at the Maquinez Palace Theatre at Panaji,Goa. [Photo Courtesy: PIB]

Shriram Iyengar

Among the aims of the organizers of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) is to mentor a new generation of filmmakers across India. One such effort in this direction is the 75 Creative Minds contest, which saw 75 winners below the age of 35 selected and afforded the opportunity to visit and interact with filmmakers at the festival. One of the conceptualizers of the idea, Prasoon Joshi, revealed the purpose behind the concept at his masterclass on the second day of the film festival at the Maquinez Palace Theatre at Panaji in Goa. 

Elaborating on the idea, Joshi, who is the chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), said, "I feel that we talk a lot of diversity in filmmaking, or sameness, or uniformity. Yet, cinema comes from a certain section of our society." 

"How do you get more stories? More authentic stories? Now, there are many who are writing stories about farmers and labourers but have not interacted with one. Unless our filmmakers come from the various parts of our country...speaking different languages, more variety, more diversity in talent, more diversity in the product/cinema will not come," he said.  

Joshi also revealed that efforts were being made to create a focussed new generation of filmmakers. He said, "I feel that cinema has to have magic, but making cinema should not be magical. Making cinema is a serious craft. We have to make cinema by design, not by default. In Hindi, we say, 'Tukka lag gaya'. By chance, you got success in films. We need to reduce that. We need to get more by design. When a child in a family tells their parents that they want to be a filmmaker, writer, actor, it should be taken seriously. The family should consider it the same way that they would if he wants to become an engineer." 

Looking to the young awardees who were attending the masterclass, he said, "How can it become a serious career choice if you do not groom yourself? I talked about learning, I talked about practising the craft, like anyone else."

The lyricist, who is also being presented with the Hindi Film Personality of the Year award at the closing ceremony of the film festival, added, "Then why do people think of making a film as a gamble? Why is it considered akin to entering a casino and playing a game of luck? Why is there not an assurance of craft? It is because we are not thinking about cinema like that. We are seeing it as a great thing to have. The 75  people who are sitting here, each one of you has the potential to become a big filmmaker. A lot depends on your seeking. Like any other profession. The attempt is that this can give you direction, it is not the final direction. It is a signal, a catalyst by far." 

The lyricist and poet said that there is a need to make 'inspiring' films for the current milieu. "Any society does not realize itself what it needs. Self-expression needs to be applauded. But self-expression cannot be all? There is a purpose, a responsibility," he said.

Describing 'negative' and 'dark films' as a 'simplification of art', he said, "If you think art's purpose is to be iconoclastic if you critique something. It is, of course, one dimension of art. At the same time, a sculptor also has beauty. When it comes to your own country, values, it is important to find faults, bring those things out. What is probably missing is subtlety.

"As much as there are things which are not right, great things are also happening around us. Our country has seen a lot. It is very important that we bring out the beauty around us. Do not reduce art to only look at the negatives," he said, adding, "Let's inspire India. We need that inspiration. Who will give it tonus, if we don't do it ourselves." 

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