Indian cinema’s centenary celebrations organised by State, film chamber

The Tamil film industry, which was “in the clutches of a family”, has been functioning independently for the last two years under AIADMK rule, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said on Saturday.

Inaugurating Indian Cinema’s Centenary Celebrations jointly organised by the State government and the South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce, she narrated a story to drive home her point that “selfish people”, who wanted to promote only their family in the film industry, now found themselves in a deep abyss.

She said Tamil Nadu had welcomed people irrespective of their background and singers, actors, music directors speaking different languages were in the forefront.

“The motto here is ‘live and let live.’ But I need not explain how the film world functioned two years ago. Driven by selfishness, some people not only wanted to destroy their professional rivals but also remained a stumbling block to the industry’s growth,” she said.

Promising all the necessary assistance to the film world, she requested those in the industry to desist from making films that would hurt people from a particular religion and caste and incite violence.

Ms Jayalalithaa said whenever she was Chief Minister of the State, the film industry had benefited. She increased the subsidy for small-budget films and increased the number of films covered by the benefit. “The measures to protect the film industry included invocation of Goondas Act against video piracy,” she said.

Ms Jayalalithaa said cinema remained at the zenith of all achievements made by the human civilization and she took pride in inaugurating the centenary of cinema which gave her an identity.

She also distributed miniature bioscopes as mementos to 59 people who had left a mark in their respective fields in the industry. The recipients included actors S.S. Rajendran, Saroja Devi, Kanchana, Manorama, Kamal Haasan, Rajinikant, music director Ilayaraja, producers AVM Saravanan, Abirami Ramanthan and actor Sivakumar.

Chief Secretary Sheela Balakrishnan, South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce president C. Kalyan and honorary secretary Suresh spoke on the occasion. It was followed by a cultural programme.

Heavy security marked the function as private security personnel vied with the police department to manage the event. Invitees including journalists found it difficult to get into the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium.

Even moments before the arrival of the Chief Minister, many empty chairs stared at a decorated dais. Finally, people were allowed to enter en masse. Representatives of some television channels complained that they were not allowed to cover the event, as the telecast rights had been given to one channel.