November 16, 2013

Karnad traces evolution of Indian cinema

Filed under: Arts,Cinema,Theatre — Journalised @ 12:22 PM
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New Delhi, Nov 16 (UNI) It is often said that its a challenge keep bored public servants from napping in lectures; not so for Girish Karnad who enthralled the audience with his panoramic knowledge of Indian cinema and its evolution over the years and its subsequent role in creating the Indian identity at the 26th Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial IFFCO lecture entitled ‘Indian Cinema and the Creation of A Nation’.
Speaking to a packed audience at the ACUI auditorium, the master-par-excellence of Indian theatre and cinema delved deep into the history of Indian cinema.
Emphasising that music has always been an integral part of Indian cinema, he said that when sound technology became available, while the western cinema incorporated dialogues, the Indian film-makers incorporated music into their films.
The creator of the famous play Tughlaq said that although the political class of India has consistently refused to recognise Indian cinema’s role in creating a national identity as well as in national integration, the film-makers have more or less stayed away from political themes themselves.
”None of the Congress leaders were fans of the arts, I don’t know how Nehru felt about Indian cinema but Gandhi had a very low opinion of Indian cinema,” Dr Karnad said.
However, he said that cinema in India still remains an urban affair as it caters mainly to middle-class aspirations. ”Cities of today are different from cities of 20’s and the 30’s. There were no slums back then in cities. It was around the World War II when the black money came and then the slums sprung up in films too. The films of those times reflected the preoccupations of the urban class of that time, like independence movement, social reforms, etc. and these are depicted in films of those times such as Achoot Kanya,’ Dr Karnad said.
Indian cinema grew into two different ‘schools’ in the 50’s – one that depicted the harsh social reality, as propounded by Satyajit Ray’s cinema and the other, the escapist fair of carefree narratives and indulgence in glamour with exuberant music and dances.
Dr Karnad said the reason why Hindi cinema achieved national and now international recognition was because it catered to the aspirations of youth from all over India and unlike regional-language films weee not confined itself to regional themes. He highlighted the fact the the evolution path of south Indian cinema is totally different from Hindi film industry.
”South Indian cinema always had a political connection starting from Annadurai, to MGR to NTR and now you have Karunanidhi, who started as script writer and of course Jayalalithaa,” he said, adding the south Indian cinema never shied away from political themes.
He opined India still has as abysmally law number of cinemas compared to that in the west with only 13,005 at its height, compared to 4,500 in tiny United Kingdom with much less population.
During the occasion, Dr Karnad also felicitated two distinguished personalities with awards. E Chandrasekharan Nair was felicitated with the Sahakarita Ratna Award while Khemabhai Hirabhai Patel was given the Sahakarita Bandhu Award by IFFCO.

Originally published here


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