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Indian film-makers suggest academy to foster good cinema

Anand Parthasarathy

Festival showcases Indian films alongside UAE products

— PHOTO : ANAND PARTHASARATHY

(Clockwise from top right) Talmiz Ahmed, Ambassador to the UAE, award-winning editor Beena Paul, director Jabbar Patel, film-maker Bobby Bedi, speak at the seminar held alongside the Indian Film Festival in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

ABU DHABI: Leading Indian film-makers and critics mooted an Indian Film Academy, insulated from bureaucracy and roping in veterans of the industry as the best way to ensure that Bollywood became a synonym for quality rather mere quantity in film production.

Bobby Bedi, creator of “Bandit Queen” and other popular yet critically acclaimed products, suggested that such an institution, designed on the lines of the U.S. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, could help rejuvenate the Indian industry that had not produced a truly world class product for decades.

Endorsing the idea, Director Jabbar Patel suggested that every country’s artistes had to grapple with local hurdles and India was not unique in this respect.

Master new technologies

He felt India’s leading film-makers should not rest on their laurels but master new technologies that were driving the industry.

The film-makers and leading international experts on Indian cinema were speaking at a seminar held on the sidelines of the ongoing Indian Film Festival here.

It was anchored by Rachel Dwyer, Professor of Indian Culture and Cinema at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, and included presentations by U.K. and India-based experts on the Bollywood scene.

Inspiration

India’s Ambassador to the UAE, Talmiz Ahmed, the inspiration behind this gathering of global students of what is now a recognised film genre, reminded delegates that some of the top talent like directors Mani Kaul honed their skills in ‘sarkari’ environments such as the Films Division while the industry on its own has been a non-role player in developing good cinema.

“Art has to catch up with technology today,” he added.

The festival, organised by the Abu Dhabi Arts and Culture Department and the Indian embassy, features a week of contemporary Indian cinema alongside the best of UAE films.

Large crowds

The festival, which ends on Tuesday, has been attracting large crowds of the Indian community here as well as a new generation of Emirates youth, for whom Bollywood equals Shah Rukh Khan.

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