Well-known film-maker presented ‘Yudhvir Memorial Award’
Hindi cinema has to meet requirements of an essentially passive audience
It cannot afford to shake fondly held views, beliefs or even superstitions
HYDERABAD: Noted film-maker Shyam Benegal said that popular Hindi cinema projects a standardised urban view of Indian society — a standpoint endorsed by the film industry as being socially integrating and offering a homogenous view of India and its culture.
Delivering a talk after he was presented the ‘Yudhvir Memorial Award’ by Jnanpeeth awardee C. Narayana Reddy here on Sunday, he said “In my view popular Hindi cinema works towards getting an enthusiastic and predictable response from an audience. It would not be perceived as entertaining if it challenged audience beliefs or allowed itself to be challenged.”
He said that in order to succeed, popular Hindi cinema had to meet the requirements of an essentially passive audience. “It cannot afford to be disturbing nor can it hope to shake fondly held views, attitudes, beliefs or even superstitions.”
Mr. Benegal said that popular Hindi cinema generally trivialised social and political processes by reducing everything to good and bad. Its greatest success lay in making the audience a willing participant in its own manipulation. “Since films have to succeed at the box office, film makers are compelled to find common denominators that would appeal to the largest number of people cutting across social and cultural diversities.”
He said that former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s speech he heard during his college days on communication made a deep impression him and “I convinced myself that although cinema was and is considered simply a vehicle of entertainment, it could not only have artistic worth but shape content in ways that would make cinema a catalyst in social change”. Chairman of the Yudhvir Foundation, Narendra Luther, and Dr.Narayana Reddy spoke.