Millennium Post

Cultivating Cinema Culture

Books enhance one in banking information and provide education but then again how many books can one read to enjoy the luxury of knowing? Here step in the artists who create stories out of the real world and deliver them <g data-gr-id="114">through</g> the big screens. 

Watching a couple of such shows can definitely broaden one’s mind and open up more room for entry of the outer world beyond one’s own homeland.

World’s five emerging national economies - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -formed BRICS representing over 3 billion people with the purpose of creating bilateral relations among these nations in order to incur mutual benefit and equality. This international forum encourages 
commercial, political and cultural cooperation among the member nations. 

The first ever BRICS film festival was hosted in the national Capital recently by the initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It provided a platform for people of the film industry of the member nations to explore areas of collaboration in the domain of cinema and culture.

Has it ever occurred to you that there is a huge world of cinema out there which just does not include Bollywood and Hollywood but several more industries? With the advent of the Internet and the concept of global village, people around the world have started to think in similar terms. 

One of the very innovative ways of expressing one’s opinion and creativity is through the platform of films. Even though the initial idea was to only entertain, it gradually developed into a huge industry of mass communication, cultural exchange and a major source of information. Being a supreme source of knowledge films can do wonders in taming the mind with their material, and with the varied cultures across the globe, this one platform has the capability to achieve mass appeal and unite one and all. 

The developing and the underdeveloped countries also possess the luxury to retain and culture information, and this practice can be strengthened through social exchange via not only traditional <g data-gr-id="172">programmes</g> which only a few people have access to but also via tourism and cinema. Countries across the globe have developed various genres of movies and have as well come up with various theories to create an infotainment industry. 

But are these movie industries linked to one another? Well, there might be links and connections but one hardly gets to know of another country’s culture, <g data-gr-id="150">thought</g> and associates from movies except for the big fat American film industry-Hollywood.

An interesting point was raised in a discussion during the BRICS Film festival- Why can the BRICS countries not release one another’s films in their respective nations or try collaborating film projects?

With a lot of ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’, the discussion turned out to be a hit among the audience who believed that it would be a great idea to watch a foreign film like Go Away <g data-gr-id="163">Mr</g> Tumour or Free State (these films had been screened at the festival) at the movie <g data-gr-id="167">theatres</g>. But what could be the barriers to the import and export of films? 

Before diving into that not-so-buoyant topic let us first pack our luggage of some information and comments.

<g data-gr-id="162">Dr</g> BBL Madhukar, Secretary General, BRICS CII says, “India will be more than happy to release films in other countries wherever there is an Indian diaspora who would be the natural audience. Those are the areas which people want to cover so that they can move ahead with the demand. 

Creating a demand in a foreign land is a challenge, due to the language and cultural indifferences, but it is not impossible. One would need a distributor in the other countries so that the films can be released in the <g data-gr-id="178">theatres</g>. If you want to create a demand you have to have an inclusive version of the story that will appeal to the mass in the other country. 

If one wishes to release a film in Brazil they must include some inputs from that country as well, only then there would be a market.”

“Chalti ka <g data-gr-id="145">naam</g> <g data-gr-id="146">gaadi</g> (1958) was released in some cinema halls in Japan and received a stupendous response. If the content of a film is not bogged down by the language barrier then one can definitely create a market in a foreign land in places where the Indian diaspora is not major.

“<g data-gr-id="170">Globalisation</g> of the <g data-gr-id="155">filmy</g> <g data-gr-id="156">duniya</g> (films and TV series both) will, in turn, employ a large number of people. India is a very big market, so is China but even then a large population of China is going to movies from Hollywood because Hollywood has been able to successfully penetrate the market and create such a great demand in China even with the language barrier.”

If American movies can enter China, why can’t Indian movies? What is keeping the BRICS nations to release their films in India? <g data-gr-id="149">Dr</g> Madhukar says, “The Indian distributors are not prone to risk-taking. A majority of them want to make an absolute surety that their movie does not incur a loss.”

Sailing on the rough voyage, we may also consider the thoughts of Bollywood actor Saurabh Shukla, “It is always beneficial to exchange films, and the whole human society has developed over the years through cultural exchange. This is a step ahead, development comes with a certain culture of its own and they will share the similar joys and hardships.”

“It is a human tendency to remain in the comfort zone, even though we produce the largest number of films we are not making a mark in the world with our cinema the way Korean cinema has done recently. The business side of our industry is very lethargic. 

If you tell somebody that I want to make a film that would appeal to the world audience they immediately shut the film because they think something which will survive in world cinema will not survive in India! This mindset of people needs to be changed.”

During the discussion at the BRICS Film Festival, an interesting suggestion came from the audience- that popular commercial films should be released in these countries rather than documentaries (which are usually considered to be boring). Here’s what Saurabh Shukla thinks, 

“People have a wrong conception about commercial films. Any film which has <g data-gr-id="188">realised</g> the commercial aspect of films, which is money, is a commercial film. For example Barfi! is a commercial film, but by the standards of “commercial films,have” it is not a one… ‘Meru’ is a very good documentary and one would not prefer to watch the “commercial films” after watching films of the similar category.”

“One need not have great messages regarding poverty or complex political issues in a film, but the content should be engaging. We need people with vision who would break the stereotype and present and release our films on the <g data-gr-id="157">centre</g> stage and open them to the world,” said Saurabh Shukla.

Even though <g data-gr-id="183">there has been</g> some collaboration between India and Russia, things did not successfully grow in aspects of business. Mera Naam Joker (1970) had Russian artists Kseniya Ryabinkina and Eduard Sjereda while 1980’s Alibaba Aur 40 Chor was co-directed by Latif Faiziyev from USSR and also had a group of actors- Sofiko Chiaureli, Rolan Antonovich Bykov and Frunzik Mkrtchyan and technicians from USSR.

“I am always fascinated by collaboration. Once we had Alibaba Aur 40 Chor, which had international (USSR) cast and technicians. It was a proper collaboration and if one watches it today he/she might wonder how good the quality of the film was because of the collaboration with the then Russia (USSR). 

We should collaborate with the BRICS countries, it would absolutely be the right decision,” said Shukla who was part of Slumdog Millionaire, a Hollywood-Bollywood collaboration
“It might be easy to say we should release each other’s films but who will watch them? It is only the younger generation, the 20-somethings, who are now completely <g data-gr-id="176">internet</g> plugged and open to a wide variety of films, it is this category of viewers who are embracing cinema from all over the world.

But prior to <g data-gr-id="152">that</g> India has never had a history of film viewing, we just like to watch our own films. Predominantly Bollywood plays well usually where Indian Diaspora is major. Collaborations may help gain the audience, but it also depends on the content of the film”, said Nagesh Kukunoor, an independent filmmaker.

With the help from the respective governments and film regulation <g data-gr-id="160">bodies</g> these five nations would be able to create a terrific amount of brilliant films which may not only be mass appealing but also gain acclaim at the global film awards. As for Indian film distributors, they might need to incline slightly towards risk taking. 

While the audience, which includes both film enthusiasts and entertainment seekers, must open up their minds to accept new materials and experiments, only then can the thought of commercial release of a film and collaborations with other countries be ideated.

''Creating a demand on foreign land is a challenge due to language and cultural differences, but it is not impossible. One would need a distributor there so that the films can be released in the <g data-gr-id="138">theatre</g>''
-<g data-gr-id="140">Dr</g> BBL Madhukar ,Secretary General, BRICS CII

''Predominantly Bollywood plays well usually where Indian Diaspora is major. Collaborations may help gain the audience, but it also depends on the content of the film''
-Nagesh Kukunoor, film-maker

''The whole human society has developed over the years through cultural exchange. Development comes with a certain culture of its own and they will share the similar joys and hardships''
-Saurabh Shukla, Bollywood actor

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