Privatisation of film institutes : Part 2

Bobby Wahengbam *

A film shooting in progress in Manipur

A film shooting in progress in Manipur :: Pix - Hueiyen Lanpao

On top of that, such equipments become absolute so soon with the swift development of digital technology. Still many are waiting for the two channels promised by the central government viz Arun Prabha (for Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim) and Manima (for Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland with Aizwal as headquarter) and also upgradation of the existing Doordarshan North East (PPC) for Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura (Indian Express, 3rd Jan, 2015).

Rumour around the corner is that the channels would be inaugurated on the 15th of August, this year. Though the good day is getting closer, there is no sign of any preparation for the same. It is afraid that such projects would not see the light of the day considering the above 'profit motive' of the Government.

We can't help but to content with the blank melodramatic bamboozle of our government like the anesthetic dream provided by Bollywood. One can't be optimistic considering the fact that even the Special Status Category of the North Eastern states has been abolished. If privatization and business is the mantra of the government, then the hopeless professionals in the field better hunt for other professions for their livelihood and repayment of debt.

Privatisation itself is a great concern for debate. On the positive side, many Manipuri and North Eastern football players could become crorepati overnight at the ISL auction and many more are richer in terms of lakhs. And it is just the beginning. If things go all right, their value will keep increasing during their prime.

Such a situation which one has never dreamed of happens today because of privatization. Who else can earn a crore in a year in Manipur in white terms? For the black businessmen, sky is the limit as Manipur is said to be a land of black marketers.

On the other hand, privatization is said to serve good for the privileged where underdeveloped and people at the margin would only find the brunt of it. Most of the conflicts in the world today are directly and indirectly related to privatization. One sees it as progress and the other one finds it a great threat to their existence.

And coming back to film institute, Satyajit Ray, the greatest film maker in the history of Indian cinema, is a self taught man. No film maker to his caliber or film makers of international repute have been produced by the 55 years history of FTII.

Right, there have been the likes of Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Balu Mahendra and Kumar Shahani (Frontline; Oct, 2013). Film makers and technicians, excepting few like Resul Pookutty, are stuck with the world of Bollywood. Yes, one by third of the happening technicians including cinematographers in India are from the institute (Kiran Rao; CN-IBN, 14th July 2015). But there is hardly any film or film maker that can make an impact in the international platforms.

But the concern, here, is relating to the setting up of the third institute in the north east. But the government has already announced to establish the same at Arunachal Pradesh (during CMs' meeting). Thanks to the strong lobby of the union home minister.

Rightful Manipur has been deprived of such an establishment for mere political reason indexing the state of affairs of the government. Determined Chief Minister of Manipur has already directed his subordinates to chalk out strategy and planning to set up a film institute of its own in the state with 250 acres of land already reserved for a film city and the institute.

All said and done, we need a film institute badly to bail us out from our pedestrian fare. Equipped with knowledge on film history, theories and techniques, talents of Manipuris can be exploited to craft a new genre in world cinema. What place in India is culturally and socially as fertile as Manipur?

The only drawback is that we don't study world cinema academically for our own benefit. And for the time, film study should be part and parcel of college curriculum in order to groom masters than remaining mere wage earners.


* Bobby Wahengbam wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao
This article was webcasted on November 08 2015.


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