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No art film should be censored: Adoor

Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Panaji (UNI): For veteran filmmaker and Padma Vibhushan Adoor Gopalakrishnan, film censorship has no meaning at all. ''I do not believe in having a film Censor Board at all. After all, I am a film maker with responsibility towards the audience and the society as well. I commuinicate with them at the higher level through the film art,'' the 64-year-old Dadasaheb Phalke award winner opines. The television which he says has ''ruined the country'' has no censorship at all and in fact the TV has made the concept of censorship redundant.

If the viewers do not like one channel, they have plenty of choices and switch over to the other they like and so is the cinema, he told UNI during the 3-day Festival of Films under the aegis of the just born Kala Academy Film Society which screened four of his retrospectives for the first time in Goa. 'Moreover, the evil of today may be good of tomorrow. It all depends on the social mores of the times,'' argues Mr Adoor, who was recipient of the highest French civilian honour-Commandeur Des Arts et Lettres. Finding no reason to justify the ban on the controversial film The Da Vinci Code, he said '' After all, it is a work of a fiction. Several films were made on Jesus Christ earlier. Some of them on nunneries and monasteries where the characters were portrayed sometimes as angles and sometimes as evil. It is wrong to discuss non-issues,'' he added. 'If the film is good, people accept it and if bad, they reject it in due course. Much ado about any film at the cost of discussing non-issues is not welcomed,'' he felt.

A celebrated film producer from Kerala, Adoor had made nine feature films in Malayalam and a few documentaries on performing arts including Kathakali, Yakshaganam and recently Mohini Yattam. The list goes on with the grey haired but untiring film maker who prefers to produce films ''in the language I know'' but not in other languages including Hindi. ''Language is the life you live, you know'', he says. The bespectacled Adoor, doning a pyjama and a gray kurta, claims he feels ''artistic constraints, not financial constraints'' in film production.

At the same time, he admits, the process of film making had never been so easy for him. Making a film that is not in consonance with the current trend is very difficult indeed, he says. Adoor Gopalakrishnan also cautioned the government and the people against ignoring the rich contribution of Indian language films, particularly non-Hindi films produced in about 20 languages.

''After all, cinema is communicating with the audience at higher level. It is a great mistake if the State ignores all language films other than Hindi. The State has to understand the very importance of Cinema,'' he said. ''For most of the people, cinema means 'commercial' Hindi films, not those produced in 20 other languages including Hindi. Respect all other language films,'' he averred. Regretting that India had very few film critics, Mr Gopalakrishnan said it was more difficult to be a real critic than to be a producer of a film as the former required to study a lot about the art and craft of the film making. ''We have no derth of films in different languages, but lesser of them are worth emulating and appreciating. Art can be art only when it has novelty in communicating with the audience,'' he said. He also urged the journalists to expose themselves to the art of film writing and appreciating film making in different languages other than Hindi.

Now that Goa has become a permanent venue for the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), the just born Kala Academy Film Society would go a long way if it promoted real film culture in Goa. ''Please invest in films in Goa and develop a young generation of film critics, writers, scholars and producers. Cannes is no where nearer to Goa in terms of its natural beauty with coconut trees and lagoons, more beautiful than Kerala'' the veteran producer said. Natural beauty alone can not make Goa an ideal venue for the IFFI whereas the quality of the films produced and screened do matter much, he opined. Referring to last year's IFFI, he said the organisers should not go by representation of films on language or class basis in the festival. They should stick to the quality of the films selected, not the language or other criteria.

The film festival is not a Parliament to discuss about language representations. Anything distracting, like premiering of commercial films would change the very character of the festival, he maintained. Taking exception to premiering of six commercial Hindi films in the festival and delaying the event for want of the actors' presence, Mr Adoor said ''The idea of the festival is not presence of stars but timely screening and showcasing of the best of the world cinema. Otherwise, the festival dies a natural death.''

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