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'Content often compromised to meet expenses'

Directors lament that film quality often suffers because of escalating costs and for proper distribution.

india Updated: Nov 28, 2005 11:53 IST

A film-maker has to often compromise on the content of his movie to meet escalating costs and for proper distribution, several directors at the ongoing 36th International Film Festival of India lamented on Monday.

Speaking at a workshop Indian Films Five Years from Now: A Perspective organised by the CII, noted film director M S Sathyu, who heads the Panorama jury for the feature film section, said in his 40-year career, he has managed to make just about eight to ten films because the subject is more important to me...Good cinema is made because of the concept and contemporary issues one deals with."

Bengali director Abhijit Dasgupta feels that marketing has taken over content and the costs have escalated with the changes in technology advancements. "It is so frustrating for independent directors like me that we have to compromise on content to get funds," he added.

Mr Sathyu criticised the "wasteful expenditure" and the "unrealistic stories" being projected in Mumbai and Tamil film industry saying that it was silly and meaningless to copy the west when filmmakers could touch upon issues which are meaningul to Indian society.

Mr Sathyu whose Garam Hawa was among the first Indian films to be screened at the prestigious Cannes festival several years ago, praised Malayalam cinema which he said was close to life and not big budgeted.

He said Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Black was good on performances even though the "wasteful expenditure" with regards to the settings like the palatial house of the protagonist in Shimla could have been avoided.

He also lauded Iqbal which he felt was more realistic than Lagaan.

He lamented that the Government funding of films had dried up completely.

Mr Nagesh Kuknoor, whose Iqbal is the Indian entry into the competition section at the IFFI, said producers want to make films with him after the commercial success of Iqbal, independent filmmakers need financing from government agencies like NFDC which should also ensure that the film after completion is marketed and distributed effectively so that the agency can at least recover its money.

"I had narrated another script to my producers and was told that it would be considered. But, when I said I have another script about an 18-year old boy who is crazy about cricket, the producers gave their nod immediately. I must say my producers (Mukta arts) marketed Iqbal very well and credit goes to them too for the success of the film," he said.

Mr Kuknoor said new directors should continue to write original scripts rather than picking the easy way of getting "inspired" from the West.

"It helps in being original. With several western film production houses eager to make films in India, there is a ray of hope for independent film directors," he said.

Mr Dasgupta felt that though there are a lot of ideas, there is no output as far as business is concerned. "Producers should give money to transform ideas into reality," she said.

Film critic Uma Da Cunha said content is undergoing a vast change as far as Hindi films were concerned. Films like Black, Page 3 and Iqbal, released this year were content-driven and did not have any explicit scene.