Bollywood doyen and FICCI Entertainment Committee Chairman Yash Chopra has appealed to the Indian audience to stop protesting against films, leading to state specific film bans. He also appealed the Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Anand Sharma to make sure that films certified by the Indian Censor Board, the apex film certification body, were not banned by Central or State governments.
Addressing the inaugural session of FICCI Frames ’09, Chopra said, “If a group has problem with a movie, it should go to the censor board for their objection. People need to understand that a lot of hard work and money goes in making a movie,” said Chopra.
Chopra also added that the Indian entertainment industry is not immune to the current recessionary trend and that it is time for the industry to come together. “This is a very bad year for the entertainment industry overall and the film industry is feeling the pain of the recession. It’s time to think, restructure and reorganise things in this time of correction. Whatever happens, loss or profit, we have learnt lessons in the past.”
On unrest among technical workforce in the TV and film industries, Chopra added, “It is time for sectors within the film industry to come together and sacrifice so that the industry can live tomorrow and survive. It’s not a time for confrontation or egos. I know money is important; but films are not made by money but by creativity and talent which we are very good at.”
“FICCI Frames has been growing year on year and its 10th edition undoubtedly shows that. We can see growth in the number of delegates and even in the number of the countries participating”, he added.
The inaugural session at 10th FICCI Frames, Mumbai, also saw Chairman of FICCI Entertainment Committee Yash Chopra passing on the baton to eminent filmmaker Karan Johar, who will now be Co-Chairman of the committee along with Sony Entertainment Network CEO Kunal Dasgupta.
An elated Karan said, “I am honoured and grateful to be a part of FICCI. It was my father’s dream that I should be close to Indian stalwarts like Manmohan Shetty, Amit Khanna and Yash Chopra amongst others. I am only taking his dream forward. I thank FICCI for taking care of everyone in the Indian film industry and leading it to the global platform.”
“Indian film industry is male dominated” – Preity Zinta
By Money Sharma
Bollywood actress Preity Zinta has said that India is a male dominated country and society, a fact which has made the Indian film industry male dominated too. She was talking about the Indian entertainment industry in one of the sessions at FICCI Frames ’09.
“I have investments in a cricket team but people think that I am at the cricket match because I am someone’s girlfriend or have come to just see the match. They can’t believe that I am at the match because I am the ‘boss’. The movies of 50’s and 60’s were very socially driven and women were positioned equal to men. Since the industry has always been spearheaded by males, people still don’t trust if women attempt something big,” she said.
The panel also included Ad Guru Prahlad Kakkar, Lintas Media Group’s Lynn de Souza, Actress Poonam Dhillon and B.A.G. Films’ Anurradha Prasad.
Poonam Dhillon also held a similar opinion about the industry. “Whenever a woman comes in the industry, she is made to do women oriented work. I have been in the industry (both TV and films) for several years in front of the camera, but now I am looking forward to do work behind the camera.”
She went on, “It is considered that a woman’s work is never done and hence it is underpaid or unpaid or boring or repetitious and we’re the first to get fired and what we look like is more important than what we do and if we get raped it’s our fault and if we get beaten we must have provoked it and if we raise our voices we’re nagging bitches and if we enjoy sex we’re nymphos and if we don’t we’re frigid and if we love women it’s because we can’t get a “real” man…”
Industry stalwarts discuss animation IP business
By Money Sharma
The panel on animation IP business, moderated by BIG Animation CEO Ashish Kulkarni included Eros Pictures India Executive Director and Kahani Inc CEO Biren Ghose, King & Partridge Senior Partner T. S. Suresh and Liquid Comics Co-Founder Gotham Chopra, discussed at length the animation IP creation, life cycle and protection.
Here are important excerpts from the speakers’ addresses:
Suresh explained the IP rights available to animators, “Animation as a fine art form includes two and three dimensional visual art works. The IP rights in this are the subject matter of copyright.” He also discussed about the process and properties which copyright acts can protect.
Biren spoke about Eros’ strategy in the media arena and on how content can be made more and more powerful and appealing to the audience. He also emphasized on monetization of an IP and revenue models which can be explored through ones’ original IP.
Gotham Chopra, Co-Founder of Liquid Comics (the erstwhile Virgin Comics) talked about IP creation in the print medium through comics and graphic novels as being comparatively economical than other mediums of story telling. He said, “Reaching audience through print medium is not only economical, but also keeps audience involved and commands their private attention.”
“Our films are disconnected from real India” – Mahesh Bhatt
By Mrigank Dhaniwala
At a power packed session on Bollywood films at FICCI Frames ’09, renowned filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt said, “I am a thief. Every phrase, every discourse that I use is borrowed from elsewhere.” Bhatt was talking about the rampant rent-a-DVD culture in Bollywood in the session, ‘Cut, Copy, Paste to Indian taste: Films in India’.
The session saw the likes of Mahesh Bhatt, Rohan Sippy, Imtiaz Ali, Kabir Khan and Dibakar Banerjee participate in a rigorous debate over what was original and what was not. Bhatt questioned the whole concept of what is called original by saying, “You cannot be fair unless you are willing to question this god of originality. Life is the only thing which is created. Those who talk about originality are just clever enough to not concede the sources.” Bhatt, apart from producing many Bollywood hits in the recent years, has also directed Saaransh, Arth which won various awards.
Director of critically acclaimed Khosla Ka Ghosla and Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! , Dibakar Banerjee said, “The real question is how do you originate enough original scripts? As an option that, you may adapt a classic film legally and then make it your own. But blatant lift-offs and gags are a strict no.” He added that the challenge was to make originality ‘cool’ so that young filmmakers were influenced in the right manner.
Producer and director Rohan Sippy vouched for good content above all, “It is important for the content to be good. The audience should enjoy the film; there must be room for making an emotional impact.”
The discussion then shifted to films on Indian stories. Bhatt said, “Our films are disconnected from the real India. We make empty images and use marketing to push it down the audience’s throats. A narrative crisis exists because we have lost empathy. Good work has to have the pulse and the throb of the people of India.”
Documentary filmmaker and director of Kabul Express, Kabir Khan said, “Much of Indian cinema today is not original. On the other hand, there is no evidence that copied movies translate into more hits than those with original concepts. Does that mean that we cannot take from local literature?”
Dibakar seconded him, “Let’s make films on our own idiom, let’s try and see if we can just be Indians, tell stories about the bandits, the love stories, comics from our vernacular media. Even a newspaper report can become a film.”
Director of Jab We Met, Imitiaz Ali shared his motivation for filmmaking, “Films are very expensive and there is no pride in losing money. For me filmmaking is fun, because I had the keeda and wanted to tell my stories. I can continue to do so or can get into the incestuous process of copying films. As a director I too need practice and I want to make good original films.”
Rounding up the discussion, Rohan Sippy said, “The business understands only one thing… the need to make profits. People without imagination will always cut and paste.”