Mumbai, Feb 9: Film institutes should nurture talent instead of producing people to be absorbed by the market, observed the participants at the open forum held on the sidelines of Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) here.
The forum was organised yesterday by the Indian Documentary Producers Association in collaboration with the Films Division, in which the speakers discussed the future of film institutes.
They were of the view that there was little doubt that film institutes like the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) at Pune and the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute in Kolkata had played a major role in nurturing fresh talent, but both of them appeared to be gearing like the private institutes in just producing people who could be absorbed by the market instead of giving a creative ambience.
The participants were, however, divided on how a balance could be maintained.
Renowned film-maker Mani Kaul, who was among the early graduates from the FTII, said the regimen at the Institute had become very controlled as compared to the early years when he was there.
He said at that time, there was greater opportunity for aspiring film-makers to interact with other film-makers and writers.
Kaul also said the students at his time were benefitted by the films of the National Film Archives of India.
He added the courses at present were too structured and aimed at producing people who could be absorbed by the industry. It was necessary to give the students a chance to pick their own style.
Kart Inderbidgin, head of Subhash Ghai's Whistling Woods International here, said he did not agree on giving open space to students as they would spend their time outside the campus. But he admitted that it was an idealistic dream.
He felt that there should be some discipline in any institution.
He even suggested that the corporate houses should come forward to sponsor students for the courses since the fee was very high in the private institutions.
Regretting that the FTII was always facing student unrest, Inderbidgin said this was perhaps one reason why India had not been able to compete in the world market.
It prompted Kaul, who was conducting the discussion, to remark that Indian cinema had managed to retain at least 93 per cent share in Indian theatres leaving less than ten per cent for Hollywood, unlike European countries which were almost totally dominated by Hollywood.
Meghnath, an independent filmmaker without training from any institute, said the future of the institutes and their products would be decided by the market and those who had the purchasing power.
While worrying that the voice of the silent majority could not be heard since all could not afford the training at these institutes, he was happy that new technologies had democratised film making.
With this, many new entrepreneurs are entering the field without formal training. But he admitted that the institutes had a role to play to produce good film makers.
Shyamal Karmakar, a faculty member of the SRFTII, said there was little doubt that the institutes were necessary as they had produced a lot of talent. But the private institutes were far too expensive.
He also agreed with Kaul that there was need to give some open space to the students to interact with film-makers and writers, saying that the institutes enabled more film-makers to take the risk of experimentation with newer stories and ideas.
Jeroo Mulla, who teaches cinema as part of the mass communications course in Sophia College here, said a good outcome of the institutes had been the entry of a large number of women film-makers.
Stressing that institutes were necessary, she agreed that it was ultimately the market forces which decided everything.
Kartikeya Talreja of Digital Academy said the craft can be taught but not the art, which was inherent in those who entered the field.
Citing figures from the FICCI-PWC report on the future of Indian entertainment, he said the future was very bright and there were more opportunities than ever before.
Vidyarthi Chatterjee, a film society enthusiast, said there was dire need for the state to support the film institutes.
Onkar Lal Sharma, a cine writer and an executive committee member in the Film Federation of India, suggested that universities should start courses in cinema instead of just leaving it to the institutes.