The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, March 12, 2000

A century of world cinema

IF Abhilaksh Likhi in the write-up "A century of world cinema" (February 27) gives a passing reference to Indian cinema it does not mean that its contribution is in any way less significant. Rather, it is fascinating how rapidly the film industry has progressed in this country and I have no doubt that in the coming years, and indeed in the new millennium, the entertainment industry will prove amongst the three largest industries of the country.

However, the film industry has to invest energy into changing our haphazard ways of working and turn more professional to gain international recognition as achieved by Satyajit Ray, Shekhar Kapoor and Mira Nair. Granted we make the highest number of films, but we have failed to overcome certain shortcomings. Our language, for instance, is not international. In areas such as professionalism and marketing, we need to learn from Hollywood.

  Indian cinema has thrived on individual-driven entities. Unlike the West, where large institutions corporatise themselves, in India growth has come from joint efforts of individuals. In the early part of the century, film studios functioned as institutions. Actors, directors and writers worked as studio employees, drawing fixed salaries.

Gradually, as the actor acquired fame and his popularity grew the star became the all important factor. By the early 50s, if the producer had a saleable pair, he had a winner on his hands. That is how Indian cinema became an individual enterprise.

Film-making today comes under a broad management umbrella. The producer has to look at a film not just as an artistic product but right from the marketing of music, overseas distribution, designing events where his star could participate, to merchandising and developing concepts like Disneyland to project the idea behind his films. No matter how much the new technology, video devices and the high definition television may alter the nature of cinema-going, cinema will continue to be the base of our entertainment industry.


A better tomorrow

This refers to the write-up "Hoping for a better tomorrow" by Sudershan Singh (February 20). When the writer says that education has failed to mould the attitudes of the youth, he forgets whether we could provide desired education to youth or not. Education is a mission for the overall development of a human being, but unfortunately we have narrowed down its scope to merely maintaining or enhancing one’s money-earning capacity. An educational course not in professional demand is not preferred by today’s youth. The present day education does not inculcate in the youth any feelings of nationalism.

By enforcing reservation of seats in government jobs for certain categories we have sacrificed merit.



Our education should be able to produce good Indian citizens. Towards this end, parents at home and teachers in the school have a special role to play. It is high time that our society gave importance to education. We will have to be committed to the promotion of education and extend its reach in case we want our democracy to flourish and society to progress. We must emphasise the status and prestige of the teacher in society and lay stress on the contribution of moral values in our education system.


Good manners

Apropos of Taru Bahl’s article, "Saying goodbye to good manners" (February 27), society cannot run smoothly if people lack good manners. Friendliness, politeness, cooperation, good behaviour, kindliness, right thinking and sweet temper are the essentials of good manners. Good manners keep the machine of life well-oiled.

Good manners spread from one man to the other and dispel gloom and improve our relationships with others. They inspire others to be good and sustain our faith in goodness. We should be polite and respectful to elders and those round us.


Relevance of Gandhi

Bharat Dogra’s "Now we need him more than ever before" (January 30) was well-timed. Both Marx and Lenin decried religion. They called it the "opium of the masses". Times have changed. Now religion is the only nectar that can save mankind from death and destruction. It’s only Gandhian ahimsa that can save man from nuclear weaponry. Suffice to say Gandhi is more relevant today than he ever was.