Veteran Malayalam filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan recently expressed his opinions on why regional cinema seldom gets representation while Hindi cinema represents India at various film festivals. Speaking at the Gateway LitFest in Mumbai, the filmmaker lashed out at Bollywood and the government in the panel discussion titled ‘Bollywood is Not the Indian Cinema’.
“The attitude of the government towards filmmakers is destructive and not supportive. I have observed glee on the faces of government officials who know that they are destroying our creative work,” he said, adding that filmmakers always try to hope for the best selections at film festivals or awards.
“I have seen only commercial movies getting selected in ‘Indian Panorama’ section, which is actually a gateway for foreigners to know about our movies. I wonder about the understanding level of the head of juries who select the movies for this section.”
According to a Hindustan Times report, the filmmaker in the hour-long discussion went on to describe about his interaction with an immigration officer. “When an immigration officer realised I’m a filmmaker, he asked me if I’m from Bollywood. I said ‘no, far from it,'” he said, adding that even a film like Slumdog Millionaire was anti-Indian. “It’s like a typical Bollywood film, made in Hollywood,” he said.
Incidentally, Adoor’s statements against Bollywood is reminiscent of his earlier statements from last year when he called out Bollywood’s practice of stereotyping everything.
“I wouldn’t call the cinema made in Mumbai as Bollywood. That’s a different kind of cinema. In Hindi cinema, there are people making better films. There are attempts being made. It is badly stereotyped. It is like a mould where everything fits in,” he added,” he said in August last year, adding that categorizing movies in different languages as ‘regional cinema’ is wrong.
Our interview with Adoor Gopalakrishnan: ‘I Shoot Every Film Like It Is My First’.
The panel discussion concluded with the panelists discussing ways to not let Bollywood over-influence Indian cinema, to which the veteran said, “National Film Development Corporation of India (NFDC) was meant for supporting movies in various Indian languages. Unfortunately, various suggestions made to the government were discarded over a period of time and now NFDC has lost its purpose. There was a practice of showing movies from various languages on ‘Doordarshan’ under the regional language category. I tried to change its name, but the government was highly reluctant towards it. Finally, the practice (of showing regional films) was stopped.”
Feature Image: English Manorama Online