For someone who has played with a camera since childhood, knowledge of cinema is mostly in frames.

But Goutam Ghose's knowledge transcends borders between human mind and science as he analyses the reach of technology and the craft of cinema.

He, the director of many acclaimed movies, knows the art of capturing images isn't so simple and is more nuanced than meets the eye. It owns a language and grammar that takes time to master.

Still, he admits the finesse of digital technology today allows people to capture, so simply, the moving images, he says. “Even such a small gizmo can do so,” he says, gesturing to his mobile phone.

People are now allowed to explore, investigate and portray a facet that assumes great importance in a country like India that is “hugely diverse and is home to a myriad cultural groups,” he says.

The veteran filmmaker, with 16 National Awards and international accolades in his kitty, was here to inaugurate the 5th International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala. This was despite him being swamped with work on his upcoming Bengali film, Shunyo Awnko (The Zero Act).

To Mr. Ghose, technology has allowed people to explore, investigate and portray a facet that assumes great importance in a country that is “hugely diverse and home to a myriad cultural groups” like India.

The flip side is the explosion of gizmos and gadgets in people's lives has caused many to retreat into a world of their own, he says.

“People are rendered more individual that goes against the basic spirit of a human being who needs to enjoy a collective experience.”

People also have to come forward to appreciate the effort put in by filmmakers by buying the films they make, rather than use technology to download films off the net.

To him, documentary filmmaking is more liberating an experience, it being unconfined by the norms that rule feature filmmaking. “With regard to long feature films, no matter how sincere you are, you're stuck in a system whose rules you have to comply with. In the case of documentaries and short-films, you are more independent,” says the director, whose film Paar heaped national awards and showcased brilliant performances by Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi.

Vaccuum

Yet when it comes to audience access to short and documentary films, there was a noted a vaccuum in Kerala. “Not a single channel is dedicated to screening or popularising documentaries and short films. This is a shame,” Mr. Ghose said, stressing the need for frequent screenings of films belonging to the genre.

“The audience here have great enthusiasm and they naturally throng to such festivals, as they are deprived of viewing them otherwise,” he said, applauding the initiative of the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy to conduct such an event featuring competitions in many categories.

According to the filmmaker, “the sphere of visual media holds great potential” and shouldn't be dismissed as a mere tool of entertainment.

Keywords: Short Films