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Of cinema and social responsibility

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Concerned: A seminar on ‘Films and social responsibility’ organised by Rangayana as a part of the Dasara Film Festival.
Concerned: A seminar on ‘Films and social responsibility’ organised by Rangayana as a part of the Dasara Film Festival.

Staff Correspondent

MYSORE: Contradicting the popular notion that “new wave” films of the seventies were more “socially concerned” than the mainstream films released then, writer and film maker Baraguru Ramachandrappa has observed that in fact it was mainstream films that rocked the cultural scene during the period and were more “socially concerned” than the “new wave” films, which bagged State and national awards.

Presiding over a seminar organised on “Cinema and its social responsibility” organised by Rangayana as part of the Dasara Film Festival here on Tuesday, he said that it was difficult to find such socially responsible films in mainstream now, as they have forgotten their responsibility.

The issue raised by Mr. Ramachandrappa led to a serious debate among the panellists.

Supporting his observation, another mainstream film director N. S. Shankar said that films, including “Vamshavriksha” and “Tabbaliyu Neenade Magane” directed by Girish Karnad and B.V. Karanth were “anti-people” films while many mainstream films showed then were pro-people.

Refuting the contention of the few new wave film directors that people shudder to watch their films though they are artistic and pro-people, Mr. Shankar said that, “Samskara”, “Kaadu” and “Chomanadudi” ran for 100 days in film theatres and there must be a reason for the people to reject other films. “It was time for them to introspect, why people were coming to theatre to watch their films,” he said.

‘Good films’

Citing instances where people have accepted “good” films, which are socially responsible, Mr. Ramachandrappa said that it was time for the new wave film directors to introspect why their films have been rejected by people and at the same time it was necessary for the directors of mainstream film-makers to understand their social responsibility and make more meaningful and socially responsible films.

Presenting his paper, director Prakash Belwadi regretted that the very purpose of organising the kind of seminar would be defeated in the absence of representation of mainstream film makers, as they were the one who were directing the movement of film industry. As films had greater responsibility compared to other forms of art, film directors should take extra care while making a movie.

It was the duty of a director to depict reality without glorifying it.

Award winning film director P. Sheshadri observed that mainstream films were “popular” not pro-people’ films and as they were commercial ventures they did not care for social responsibility. It was the responsibility of the Government to make film-makers more socially responsible, he added.

Reacting to this, linguist Lingadevaru Halemane said that social responsibility was essential for all the film-makers, as people easily got influenced by the visuals. Delivering key-note address, Deputy Director of Department of Information, Prakash said that Dasara Film Festival was a great success.

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