Staff Reporter

`Sensitise students to aesthetics of cinema'

KOTTAYAM: Mahatma Gandhi University has conferred honorary D.Litt. degree on filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan.

In his convocation address here on Monday, Governor R.L. Bhatia, who is also the Chancellor of the university, lauded the perfectionist in Mr. Gopalakrishnan and said his accomplishments have been recognised both nationally and internationally.

The Governor also stressed the importance of cinema which has emerged as the most dynamic and democratic medium, breaking barriers and opening fresh vistas for profound expression of human sentiments.

In his acceptance speech, Mr. Gopalakrishnan pointed out that conferring the honorary degree on him marked a major departure in the mindset of academician vis-à-vis what was new and alive in art and culture.

Dubbing this as a gesture which signalled that cinema was no more out of bounds for our universities, he pointed out that this was a long way from the time when many an eyebrow was raised at the suggestion of film studies being introduced in the university curriculum.

Stressing the need to sensitise the young minds in the schools and universities to the aesthetics and nuances of film art, he pointed out that in today's world, remaining unaffected by the most important medium was to miss something very valuable in one's life.

Crucial to cinema studies was the awareness that familiarity with some of cinema's great creators will be as rewarding as that with works of great authors of literature.

The basic idea of film studies was that of inculcating the film culture the same way one studies poetry or drama. Introduction of film studies in the curriculum of universities should not be mistaken for training in filmmaking, he said.

"A keenness of viewing, sharpness of hearing and an openness in assimilating the intake was expected of the viewer whether he was a critic, scholar or mere spectator. The best of cinema is not for the casual visitor, for that matter, no experience of any art is," said Mr. Gopalakrishnan.

Vice-Chancellor Jancy James read out the citation.

The ceremonial content of the function was cut short as the State was observing one-day mourning on the death of Amir of Kuwait.

Meeting of the syndicate for Supplication of Grace on behalf of the recipient for admission to the degree was also cancelled as the syndicate was not in office. The power was instead vested with the Vice-Chancellor by the Chancellor.