The Tribune - Spectrum


Sunday, September 23, 2001

Hindi cinema is thumbing its nose at candyfloss

APROPOS of Aradhika Sekhonís write-up "Thumbing the nose at candy floss... Hindi cinema takes a realistic turn." (September 9) there is no doubt that the contribution of Indian cinema, particularly Hindi cinema, is 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, the entertainment industry will prove amongst the largest industries of the country.

However, the 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.

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. But in 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.

No matter how much the new-age video devices and the televisions may alter the nature of cinema, cinema will continue to be the base of our entertainment industry.




There is no other field in which things have touched the nadir of indecency, vulgarity and sheer ugliness as the Indian cinema during the last two or three decades.

The present films, on the whole,, are neither didactic nor entertaining. In the forties and fifties, there were films like Shaheed made on the patriotic theme, Sansar portraying domestic quarrels, Aulad depicting paternal love. All these had gripping stories with good music and fine acting.

Anarkali, Shabab, Baiju Bawra, Mughal-e-Azam, Amar etc were emotion-packed romantic movies whose music was too magnetic to be forgotten. In fact, film producers in those days were very particular about the stories. They took up themes that had a social, moral and emotional import. The stories were fortified with lilting music. The wording and tunes of the numbers were faithful to the emotions sought to be expressed through them. As such ,music of those days carved a permanent niche in the hearts of the viewers.

The films of today are meant to pander to the baser instincts of the riff-raff. The female body is exposed in such a manner that oneís sensibilities are offended. It is not the nudity that is so objectionable. It is the way in which female body is debased, rather than celebrated. Romance emanating from the deep core of heart has given place to quickie love.

It is the physical aspect of love, rather than its spiritual and emotional dimension that modern producers are so obsessed with. One also misses the grand film personalities of yore as Chandra Mohan, Motilal, Balraj Sahni, Shyam, Dilip Kumar etc.


Still a lot to learn about education

Apropos of the article, "Still a lot to learn about education" by Randeep Wadhera (September 2), the writer needs to correct his figures and quote up to date data in support of his views. The first census of the millennium gives the number of the literate in the country as 65.3 crore that is 65.3 per cent literacy). Similarly, the number of primary schools and students studying there have also increased. The writer would agree that, over the last decade, changes in every walk of human endeavour have been much greater in magnitude and impact as compared to those during the earlier five or six decades. When the Ninth Five Year Plan is at its fag end, to quote the seventh and eighth plans seems strange.

As a worker in the field of education for the last five decades, I strongly endorse the writerís viewpoint that the state of affairs prevailing in the formal, non-formal and informal sectors of education is, indeed sorry.

The H.R.D. Ministry and NCERT spokespersons are claiming that the new scheme of studies aims at balancing the curriculum on the three pillars of relevance, equity and excellence, creating a cohesive society, giving special care disadvantaged and talented children, strengthening national identity and preserving cultural heritage, integrating indigenous knowledge, responding to the impact of globalisation, and linking education with life skills and moral values. The above mentioned areas donít give an inkling of the hidden designs and biased approach of those who are modernising curriculum and updating text books.

The elite, in general, and politicians, in particular, should spare education at least from their selfish motives and NCERT should maintain a neutral identity with no leaning towards red or saffron.



The writer has portrayed a vivid picture of the current education scenario in the country. We have been neglecting primary education from the beginning and have, now, made higher education almost out of reach of the poor but intelligent students.

The writer has tried to discredit private schools owing to the fees and donations being charged by them. In spite of this the contribution of private schools cannot be overlooked. Government schools have been unable to cope with the demands of education. Quality-wise also the, private schools are far superior than the government schools. This has led to a mushrooming of public schools even in villages.

Teaching as a profession is not on the priority list of the parents as well as students. This profession is adopted by unemployed graduates and postgraduates when they do not find any other job. The government has not laid proper stress on teachersí training programmes and refresher courses for the teachers already in this profession.

J.P. SETHI, Yamunanagar

Gender discrimination

Apropos of Taru Bahlís article "When the son is always right" (September 9). Despite an unambiguous display of qualitative and quantitative superiority by girls in social, intellectual and moral fields, a son still remains the cherished dream of parents in our male-dominated society. Undue attention and unhealthy love showered upon the male-child not only turns him into an arrogant, authoritarian and a unscrupulous young man, but it also creates an atmosphere of jealousy, tension and imbalance in the domestic atmosphere.

Girls are outshining boys in almost all fields and are entering male bastions.

We need to overcome the societal pressure and prejudice against the girl child and develop a uniform and healthy outlook in bringing up our children without any discrimination on the basis of sex. Astrong tilt in favour of the male child will make him a self-centred and boisterous egoist and this will also develop in the girl child a sense of alienation. Let us rise above gender discrimination and learn to appreciate and love our children for their talent and qualities and not gender.


Sands of time

This is with reference to the column "On the sands of time" by M.L. Dhawan. The writer deserves praise for making sincere efforts to keep alive the glorious memories of films and filmmakers of yesteryear. The writer should start with films made in 1940, as this was the golden era of Hindi films which cannot and should not be ignored.

The contents of the series should be given in a more elaborate form. The present presentation of each of the films covered is too inadequate to attract the present generation to see these classics on the screen.

M.L. SHARMA, Chandigarh

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