Restoring faith in Indian cinema

Mr Amar Chandel’s article “Ordeal of the Film Festival” (Oct 29) was thought-provoking. He rightly bemoans the drought of good films from India — the country known for producing great and memorable classics for well over 50 years. During the last 10 years, producers and directors have given a go-by to art, aesthetics, culture and social ethos. Most of the stuff being turned out today falls in the category of bad cinema in spite of abundant talent and potential available to the industry.

Mr Chandel pinpointed the craze among producers for films depicting boy-meets-girl-meets-villain pattern. They present to the viewers scantily dressed nymphets indulging in obscenities and cheap sexually suggestive songs with double entendre. The drought of more than two decades has the audience begging for good, clean, wholsome and meaningful cinema.

Once, this industry produced heart-warming classics such as Sita, Sikandar, Chandidas, Ramaraj, Shakuntala, Devadas, Harish Chandra and later Mahal, Mirza Ghalib, Do Beegha Zamin, Baiju Bawara, Mother India, Guide, Pakeeza and Sholay. Even simple films such as Swami, Artha, Shakti and Yug Purush were praiseworthy. The Bandit Queen too, with a bold social theme, was innovative. Where have that talent and good sense gone? Shall the industry ever stage a comeback to restore our faith and pride in the Indian cinema?

R.L. SINGAL, Chandigarh


Beautifying Chowgan

During a recent visit to Chamba, I was shocked to find the once lush green and clean Chowgan Public Park fast losing its greenery, scenery and charming beauty due to the apathetic attitude of the local administration and the civic body. They seem to exploit the precious lung space of the town for commercial purposes. The second and third parts of the Chowgan present a horrible sight: the degradation of grassy turf has marred the beauty as well as sanctity of the Chowgan which is ipso facto the hallmark of the historic town of Chamba.

Similarly, the Chowgan slope, which has been turned into a dumping site for garbage, polythene bags etc. also cries for attention. The Himachal Government has provided Rs 21.5 lakh for the development and beautification of the Chowgan this year. This amount should be properly spent for the purpose of beautifying the hill slope.

Keeping in view the fragile nature of the Chowgan slope, the Forest Department should carry out the beautification works after proper planning and landscaping by experts in consultation with the Horticulture wing. Ornamental trees, flowering and herbal shrubs could be planted. The slope could be turned into a flower garden. The cooperation of the Horticulture department should be sought for developing the area in a pleasing and aesthetic way. This will add beauty to the Chowgan promenade and the town as a whole and will definitely go a long way in boosting tourism in the district.

i.d. sharma, IFS (retd), Shimla

NRI Sabha

First it was the NRI Sabha of Punjab, and now the Central Government having Bharti Parvasi Sammelan (BPS) in New Delhi. We joined the NRI Sabha of Punjab about four years ago. We got enrolled as life members by remitting the fee. We received letters and information about the meetings regularly for the first couple of years when Mr Shirivatva was the Chairman.

Now the office-bearers do not even reply to our letters. I would like to know if the Central Government’s BPS will also treat NRIs the same way. As NRIs, we are committed to develop India but the way our system works, we bow our heads in in shame.


Falling standards

Punjabi music is extremely popular among the Punjabis all over the country, particularly in North India. It is very entertaining and pleasing when presented with Bhangra. Unfortunately, however, it is being telecast in a cheap way by DD Punjabi, Etc Punjabi, Alfa Punjabi, Balle Balle etc. TV channels show obscene and vulgar scenes by young girls with the accompaniment of pop dance which no family can watch.

This unbridled show of vulgarity in the name of Punjabi music is doing incalculable harm to society, specially the younger generation. In a TV programme “Sade Gaane” from Alfa Channel on Oct 25 (8 pm to 8.30 pm), noted Punjabi singer Pami Bai strongly condemned the present style of Punjabi music. The people and NGOs should exert pressure on the government to stop telecast of such harmful programmes and avoid further damage to society.

T.R. GOYAL, Chandigarh

Break the record

We have no time to stand and stare though we have a lot of time to stare at pretty girls. We try to jump the queue (though we have become accustomed to it!) while buying cinema tickets or remitting water and electricity bills. Then we spend the same quantum of energy in trying to wriggle out of the melee.

We enter the cafe and insist on being served first. We go to witness the cricket test and create a scene there if we are not allowed to garland our favourites; we hijack buses and sometimes burn them if the conductor demands tickets. In contrast, someone wrote in the London Times in 1980. “If you cannot win, make the one in front of you break the record.”

D.V. JOSHI, Bartana (Zirakpur)

Himachal temples

Himachal Pradesh Governor V.S. Kokje is reported to have stated during a recent visit to Kangra that after nationalisation of temples in the state, they were not working smoothly and the old pattern should be restored. His statement betraying stark ignorance of the deplorable state of temples prior to their “socialisation”, is ill-advised. Apparently, the Governor has not been briefed correctly on the subject.

Under the old pattern, the temples were ill-kept, ill-maintained and ill-managed. The offerings made by the devout amounting to crores of rupees annually filled the coffers of only a few individuals — the so-called pujaris. Not even a small fraction of that amount was spent on proper upkeep of the locality/pilgrim centre nor on social uplift. The pilgrim centres had become notorious for all sorts of vices under the sun.

Whereas the loopholes in the existing scheme regarding management of temples must be effectively plugged, there is absolutely no case for reverting to the “old pattern” in the matter. The “old pattern” can be restored only at our peril.

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)


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