The “Bhishmapitamah” of the Indian film industry, Yash Chopra, chose the “Mahakumbh of cinema,” the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), to air the grievances of the industry that is reeling under heavy taxation.

Speaking at the inauguration of the 41st edition of IFFI here on Monday, the seasoned filmmaker made an impassioned plea for a more “realistic” approach towards the industry. Accusing the government of not doing enough to promote cinema, he said, “It is treating the industry in a step-motherly fashion. One voice is not raised in favour of the industry,” that gave employment to millions of people.

“We are going to celebrate the centenary of cinema in 2013. I request the government to wake up, cut down on the taxes, the stamp duty, etc. The government urgently needs to do something about the copyrights issue. Otherwise, in a couple of years, we can prepare to read the obituary of the industry,” he said.

“Time is running out”

Mr. Chopra urged Minister for Railways Mamata Banerjee, who inaugurated the festival, to push her ministerial colleagues into action.

“We need to have the infrastructure. Then only can we compete with international cinema. Every day we are noticing that some progress is being made but we need to do everything quicker, better because people in other parts of the world are doing better things. Time is running out.”

Mr. Chopra said: “We need cinema halls with a better seating and screening capacity to host festivals and it is just the right time to expand as Indian cinema is leaving its signature on the global canvas.”

“We need halls with 12 screens. We need convention centres. We need exhibition halls to host international film festivals.”

Keywords: IFFI 2010