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`Artistes should not be commercial agents'

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SHARING HIS VIEWS: Sukumar Azhikode, social critic, interacting with an audience in Malappuram on Wednesday evening.
SHARING HIS VIEWS: Sukumar Azhikode, social critic, interacting with an audience in Malappuram on Wednesday evening.

Staff Reporter

Azhikode inaugurates film festival in Malappuram

MALAPPURAM: Sukumar Azhikode, critic, has cautioned that artistes should not degenerate to commercial agents.

His warning came at the inaugural of an international film festival organised by the Rasmi Film Society at Anand Theatre here on Wednesday evening. He said actors, writers, sports persons and political leaders should all be cultural icons, and they should guard their lofty positions like a flame in the wind.

He criticised superstars Amitabh Bachchan and Mohanlal as well as ace cricketer Sachin Tendulkar for behaviour unfit for their status.

He said Mr. Bachchan insulted the country, its cultural ethos, his celebrated father, and his international degrees and honours by smoking in public.

Prof. Azhikode said that Mohanlal and Sachin too lowered their positions by advertising commercial products. "I wanted to tell Mammootty and Mohanlal about it, but never got an opportunity," he said. "Artistes are cultural agents, not commercial agents."

"When Tendulkar bats, India's pride rises like water in the Mullaperiyar dam," he said. "Sadly, our icons are dying." He said cinema should be a signpost for actors. "Acting is living, not substitution for living," he said.

According to Prof. Azhikode, a successful movie is one that can transform a viewer into a better individual. The need of the hour, he said, was emotional education, which films were capable of giving.

He said American President George W. Bush was a terrorist incarnate. "Before Bush, even Ravana will be a pigmy," he said. He added that God might resign if he wanted to create a meaner person than Mr. Bush.

Manambur Rajanbabu, president of the Rasmi Film Society, presided over the function. Prakash Sreedhar, secretary, welcomed the gathering. The films screened on the inaugural day of the festival included `Kilometre Zero' by Hiner Saleem, `Turtles Can Fly' by Bahman Ghobadi, `Tickets' by Abbas Kiarostani, Ermanno Olmi and Ken Loach, and `Kekexili: Mountain Patrol' by Lu Chuan.

Thursday will be devoted to movies by Kim Ki-Duk, well-known South Korean filmmaker. The films to be screened are `3-Iron' (10 a.m.), `Samaritan Girl' (12 noon), `The Coast Guard' (3 p.m.), `The Isle' (6.30 p.m.), and `Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring' (8 p.m.).

An open forum to be held at 5 p.m. on Thursday will discuss `Masters and Movies,' a book scripted by film critic M.C. Rajanarayanan. Sanskrit scholar K.G. Poulose will inaugurate the discussion.

Mr. Rajanarayanan will be the moderator.

The festival will come to an end on Thursday.

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