Gautaman Bhaskaran
an indian journalist
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© Copyright 2004

 

INDIAN CINEMA

Cinema In General

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Pans & Tilts…Om Puri in NFDC, Cannes, Karina-Saif…

The National Film Development Corporation has really been a failure. Once established to fund meaningful cinema, distribute it and exhibit it by building small theatres, the Corporation could do precious little. Chaired by eminent movie men and women, such as Manmohan Shetty of Adlabs, Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Hema Malini, it hardly made use of their talent or expertise. The obvious reason for this was Government interference. Now we have a new Chairman in Om Puri, some of whose films were financed by the NFDC.

Puri has a plan or two up his sleeve. The more interesting one relates to cooperatives within the Corporation that will request actors and technicians to work for smaller fees. Later, they can share the profits of a movie, if there are any. This concept appeals to me, but what about the Bachchans, the Kapoors and the rest. They are not going to buy this plan all so easily.

Will Om be able to convince them?

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The NFDC will be at Cannes this May. Like always. But for years, I have seen the Corporation do very little at the French Riviera. For years, my questions on the kind of buying and selling it has done have been met with evasiveness. And even till last year, the Corporation was beating the Ray oeuvre, trying to sell his work.

I am told the NFDC has seven movies, including “Lucky Red Seeds”, Via Darjeeling” and “As the River Flows”. All of them may not travel to the Cannes Festival Market, because some are still under production. With less than two weeks to go for the Festival, it is not yet clear what the NFDC will present at the Market.

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At Cannes, Indian cinema goes unrepresented this year. Yet again. It has been many years now since India had an entry in the Festival’s official sections. I am told many Indian directors and producers sent in their films for possible inclusion.

The Festival, which begins mid-May, has some really big names, and, as The Hollywood Reporter remarked, “it might have pulled a magic rabbit out of their berets with an Official Competition line-up jammed with hotly anticipated movies, including several that prevailing wisdom dictated would not be ready in time to unspool at …” Clint Eastwood, Steven Spielberg, Atom Egoyan and Woody Allen rubbing shoulders with Turkey’s Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Brazil’s Walter Salles, Germany’s Wim Wenders and Hong Kong’s Wong Kar Wai convey the impression that this year’s selection may be as good as the one in 2002, when we saw “The Pianist”, “City of God”
and “About Schmidt”.

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Tailpiece: Kareena Kapoor appears all set to marry boyfriend Saif Ali Khan. Are we all set to see one more star wedding soon? About time, we did, for it has been a year since the Ash-Abhi marriage took place. Movie mags desperately need that dose of high.

(Webposted April 24 2008)