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Our commercial cinema is far removed from the realities of life: Adoor Gopalakrishnan

Indian cinema entered its 100th year this year. How has the journey been?


Updated:March 5, 2013, 6:47 PM IST
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Our commercial cinema is far removed from the realities of life: Adoor Gopalakrishnan
Indian cinema entered its 100th year this year. How has the journey been?

Indian cinema entered its 100th year this year. How has the journey been? Film director Adoor Gopalakrishnan shared his perspective in an interaction with IBNLive readers.

Q. Dear sir, Please consider producing a film on beautiful Ramayana or sunderakand. Pl consider seriously as values in the society are getting eroded day by day. Annamayya had showed that such films could also be hit in the industry. Asked by: NITIN

A. It is a good suggestion but I am not the right person to make such a film. There are experts in the field who have thorough knowledge of the subject proposed.

Q. Dear Sir, Indian Cinema is growing but do you foresee a change for better in future where good cinema will sell and not just stars? Asked by: Jatin Acharya

A. I can already see positive changes. And I do not consider stars as enemies of good cinema.They can also contribute with their talents and popularity. The problem arises when people imagine that every star-actor can do every role and what matters is the very presence of the star.

Q. Hello Sir, as a Malayali, what is your opinion about the recent films released in Kerala? Say for example Ustad Hotel which was one of the most popular films last year Asked by: kjn

A. Unfortunately, I have not seen many of the new films produced in the recent past. I do try to catch up but am not successful always. I have heard good reports about this film, particularly about its popularity.

Q. The perception about Indian cinema is that Indian cinema=Bollywood. this is leading to people outside and even within India to be ignorant about regional cinema. is there some way to remedy the problem? Asked by: vjn

A. If we call films in Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada etc Regional Cinema, then we are terming films in Hindi National. Nothing could be more wrong. The National cinema comprises of films made in every language in the country. We should stop calling films in languages other than Hindi regional. The popular Hindi cinema does not belong to any particular place or people. But there are a few aims in Hindi which are very specific about people and places and they are genuinely engaged with a people and so are national in its look and character.

Q. Why do you think there is very little literature being adapted to screen in India? Is it because the culture of reading is poor in India or is it because our literature itself is poor to start with? Or is there a entirely different reason? Asked by: vjn

A. Our commercial cinema is far removed from the realities of life and they are invariably concocted to allow time and space for so much non-sense: virtuous and good-for-nothing heroes, professional villains, songs and dances which have a logic of its own, sudden turns of melodramatic events, scenes of fights, rapes,and other disasters providing ample scope for digital manipulations etc. Worthwhile literary works deal with closely observed and deeply felt experiences of life. Very often they would even be subtle and soft to get the sudden attention of the reader.

Q. Sir you have been a marathon runner in Indian Cinema. Can you tell us what's the big difference in film making between now and the time you were making movies. Also the status of parallel cinema now? Asked by: SIVAKUMAR BS

A. Basically there is not much difference. It was very difficult to find the finance to produce a film when I started my career. The situation is not very different even today. If your intentions are good, you won't get any backing at any stage of your production. On the contrary, if you have a good star cast and it is made known that what you are embarking is simply something that is just the run of the mill, you are lucky, you will get all help and promotion all along. With the coming in of Television, things have become a little more difficult because the TV is thriving on the trash and the unsuspecting audience have already undergone further deterioration in its taste. What they used to complain about in the beginning when TV just dawned on us has now become the accepted norm. They are not even mediocre but mere rubbish.

Q. Is it possible to setup a system where stories and screenplays written by people from any part of India can be produced by any filmmaker in India? something like a screenplay pool so that many undiscovered talents can be brought to the limelight. I'm sure there are millions of stories to be told but are not getting the opportunity to be produced Asked by: vjn

A. An interesting thought. But it emerges from a certain lack of the creative process. A filmmaker is not just a translator of the word into images and sounds. The screenplay in fact, delineates the filmmaker's approach to his film. This simply becomes his major reference while making the film. It is an entirely approach when the director of the film chooses a script that is to his liking and then goes about turning it into a film. This is the most mechanical and commercial process I believe, because the director is simply some one who makes use of his technical knowledge and craft to make a film that is acceptable and enjoyable to the magnitudes.

Q. Sir, what are psychological and socio-cultural influence of image making in cinema? Asked by: Sugil

A. I like many actors, both M and F, in Indian cinema. But I do not know if it would be proper to term them as all-time. Here are some names: Dilip Kumar, Chhabit Biswas, Sivaji Ganesan, (Smt) Aranmula Ponnamma, BK Nair, Karuna Bannerjee, Meena Kumari.

Q. Are you the inspiration for Tamil movie 'Iruvar' directed by Mani Ratnam? Asked by: Senthil Kurmran

A. No.

Q. Sir your favorite actor from Hindi cinema, past or present? Secondly, ever seen Manoj Vajpayee? Asked by: Kamal Agg

A. Amitab Hacchan, Nasiruddin Shah, Om Puri,Irfan Khan. Nana Patekar

Q. Sir, whenever we get to see Mohanlal or Mamoothy on screen,we are mesmerized but the opportunities are few and far. My first question why don't the Malyali producers give it a try if Hindi cinema producers are indifferent? Asked by: Kamal Agg

A. I cannot answer this question - not my area of interest or concern.

Q. In many countries we can see that the line of separation between so called "commercial cinema" and "parallel cinema will be so thin that we cant find the separation.In those countries both breed of films are successful also. But in India this separation is too broad that the parallel cinema doesn't find good audience or screens apart from the film festivals. Apart from some states like West Bengal or Tamil Nadu(here the so called parallel cinema doesn't happen it seems..)this problem is very much visible. What's your take on his or Can you propose some solution on this to the govt of India or atleast to the respective state governments....? Asked by: Radhakrishnan

A. Parallel cinema is a journalist term used by our press to describe any film that is out of the ordinary. In fact, there does not exist any parallel cinema anywhere else in the world. There are popular commercial films as well as worthwhile artistically relevant films produced in many countries. The audiences or their film industries do not separate one from the other. That is why films winning awards either at the national or international competitions become successful at the box office too. They do not consider it a crime to make an honest and artistic film.

Q. Sir, we get to see a lot more Tamil cinema, comparatively, than Malyali cinema. Like the works of Mani Ratnam and Kamal Hasan. Any particular reason? Asked by: Kamal Agg

A. Tamil speaking people are spread all over India in numbers many folds larger than Malayalis. Also there is the absence of imaginative and enterprising distributors who would take the risk of showing worthwhile Malayalam films at least in the big cities of the country.

Q. Sir, while you are an acclaimed film maker in Malayalam how come you have never worked with Mohanlal when he was younger despite him being such a versatile actor whereas you did 3 films with Mammootty? Asked by: dr joseph kunnirickal

A. In my way of work, I first write my script. When it is complete and the finances are in place, I start look for the right actor to do the role. It so happened that three times, almost one after the other, I needed Mammootty to play characters in my films. Every time I contacted him, he was eager to join us. I have made only 11 films so far and I could not naturally have all the good actors work in my films.

Q. How do you see female actress in Indian cinema. Are they portrayed well? Asked by: Salam

A. We have some of the finest female artists in Indian cinema.

Q. Sir Mrinal Sen could never get the recognition which Satyajit Ray got. Am I wrong in equating him as per their talent/contribution? Asked by: Kamal Agg

A. You are not right. Mrinal Sen is also well recognized in India and abroad. He is one of the three great masters of Indian cinema - Ray, Sen and Ghatak.

Q. In one of your interviews you said you were appalled by the movie Paruthiveeran because of its heavy dose of violence. Why were you appalled? isn't violence among humans a reality? sometimes when I see your movie Vidheyan, I'm shocked by the violence unleashed by Bhaskara Patelar on Thommy even though it wasn't as vividly shown as in Parthiveeran Asked by: kjn

A. I was shocked by the violence in this film, true. But I was more shocked when I came to learn that the film was a big commercial hit and children and women thronged to see it. That says some thing very negative about the social climate there.

Q. Hi.. What is your take on some writers/directors lifting - sometimes even certain shots/angles - (they call it adaptation) Hollywood movies for Malayalam movie scripts? Some of the recently released movies copied include 'My Boss', 'Beautiful', 'Chappa Kurishu' etc. Asked by: Prasanth S

A. Copying is not a good act. It is some kind of stealing. It should be denounced, not encouraged.

Q. Even after 100 years India is not able to produce good viewable films with some message to the society may be there a few exceptions like Kodiyettam. Asked by: prathap

A. There have been several good films produced in the last 100 years. Only you have to look for them.

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