More than just a film institute

THERE WAS more than a glimpse of the rebellious spirit in Parvati Balagopalan's attempt at making new rules for the Cupid-dominated game. As was the near real drama that Hemant Trivedi's action behind the camera created in "Company". But then, that's only for those who don't look beyond Bollywood.

But for those who do, Jamia Millia Islamia's AJ Kidwai Mass Communication Research Centre is a nurturing ground that has managed to live up to its founder's vision of being more than just a film institute.

From Amar Kanwar, Rahul Roy and Sabah Dewan to Anwar Jamal, Sahjo Singh and Kabir Khan, one of the youngest mass communication centres in the country has give the film industry many names to add to its list of talented and promising film makers.

With noted writer, Asghar Wajahat, taking over as director post recently, the institute is clearly gearing up for action. With its students being its strong point, the Centre seems to have finally decided to honour those who have made a mark in their field as well as taken the vision of the Centre ahead, by making serious and meaningful cinema. To be felicitated at a function at the Dr. MA Ansari Auditorium will be former students and the highest national award winners from the institute - Anwar Jamal and Sahjo Singh - who passed out from the institute in 1985 and 1984 respectively. Incidentally, Jamal's first feature film "Swaraj" won the National Award this year for the best film on women's issues.

Established in 1982, the Centre was born out of the personal initiative of Anwar Jamal Kidwai, the then Vice-Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia,who also became the first chairman of the Centre.

One of the first such institutes to come up following the University Grants Commission to fund universities offering the mass communication course across the country, the centre was gifted a wide range of sophisticated audio, video and film equipment for its studio, editing rooms and outdoor work by the New York University. The year 1992 saw Japanese aid bring in more audio, video and film equipment.

From Still Photography, audio visual Production, video and film production to radio production, the Centre has been training students with state of the art technology. Cinema is clearly more than just technical expertise, which probably further explains the reason for this Centre including media appreciation, traditional entertainment, communication theory and research, visual communication and sound recording and reproduction as part of the curriculum. The coming week will also bring noted film maker Govind Nihalani to the campus, where he will be the key speaker in a discussion on "Globalisation and Hindi Cinema".

By Lakshmi Balakrishnan

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