Noted film storywriter, director and national award recipient Akkineni Kutumba Rao said that the decline in the quality of films started in the 1970 with the setting in of commercial films production trend.

Participating in the celebration of 100 years of film production in India organised by the Vizag Film Society (VFS) here on Monday, he said that until 1968 very good films with social and mythological themes had been produced. The years 1970 onwards saw a shift in film priorities from social themes to commercial themes.

Speaking on the ‘Raja Harischandra’ film directed by Dada Saheb Palke and released on May 3, 1913, Akkineni said that a film is a combination of multiple arts. In the early years priority was given to the mythological stories which formed the basis for production of a film. Subsequently the years 1930-1940 saw themes and qualities like sacrifice, goodness and humanity which were chosen for producing films.

Films in Telugu with issues of social importance began to be produced by Chakrapani and K.V.Reddy and several other contemporaries. Films like Maala Pilla, Malleswari and Shaukar were produced with a social message.

Missing element

Films beyond 1970 witnessed a discernable shift from artistic value and social relevance to commercialisation.

The quality of film production declined further with the fading of producers who loved art and people with commercial motives hailing from liquor trade and real estate background taking over film production. The missing element in today’s films is human relations and values associated with love and affection. Modern day films are more influenced by western culture.

Akkineni asked producers and other stakeholders in film industry to reflect on the state of affairs and also accept responsibility for the same. He opined that the day is not far off when people would revolt against the tendencies. He lauded the VFS for screening good films with social themes and those associated with values.

Feminist writer Olga stated that the modern day films are playing a negative role and educating people on how to ill treat women, indulge in crime and corruption and ways and means of bringing women to subjection in the name of love and romance. She said that these tendencies are not good for the social development. They negate human values which are core for the survival of a society. She regretted that the story of 100 years of cinema was one of a good start but by 2013 it was soiled and blemished. Films of yesteryears glorified women as goddess but films of today reduced her to a sex symbol and object of pleasure, she added.

VFS secretary Narava Prakasha Rao said that the society had been celebrating 100 years of cinema by organizing several talks and exhibition of old films for the past 3 months.

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