Saturday 17 November 2018

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Cinema is liberated, censorship is senseless: Benegal

 

Cinema is liberated today, technologically as well as by breaking the traditional norms, thus imposing censorship makes no sense, feels India’s veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal.

The 80-year old Dadasaheb Phalke Award winner and Padmabhushan recipient said a new grammar of filmmaking needs to be evolved now with technology taking cinema out from theatres to the televisions, tablets and mobiles.

Known for his realistic direction and screenplays, Benegal was in conversation with equally competent filmmaker Sudhir Mishra at the 46th edition of International Film Festival of India.

Mishra browsed the topic of censorship in relation to the ongoing controversy over cutting kissing scenes in James Bond film Spectre for screening in India and censoring some scenes of international filmmaker Pan Nalin’s film Angry Indian Goddesses.

“More than censorship, I am against imposition of censorship. It should be limited to classifying the films to decide who should watch it”, opined Benegal.

According to him, every filmmaker makes a film within social sensibility and the societal norms and ethics by following self-censorship.

“Social restraints sanctified by traditions will always be there. What was important yesterday becomes a hindrance today. Many films are fighting these traditions today and they will keep breaking it”, said Benegal, the rebel filmmaker even in his ‘80s.

In a similar manner, he said the digital technology is also breaking the defined norms of filmmaking.

“Digital imaging is much sharper than the old analog images. But in the bargain, we are losing the pleasantness and the art of craft. It’s like what happens when the machine does the carpenter’s job”, felt Benegal, who played wonders with celluloid technology in his films.

 

He also observed that the larger than life image of cinema is now fading out very fast since it has moved from the big screens in theatres to the televisions sets, computers, tablets and now on mobiles.

Will the technique of film making also change with these changes, asked Mishra.

Benegal feels, No.

“A new grammar is bound to evolve with changing idioms, much better than what it was. But the experience of making the film would remain the same.”

He also appreciated the experiments the younger generation is making in this direction.

Then, asked Mishra, why the old films like Guru Dutt’s Pyasaa etc are being restored and brought back as old classics?

Benegal had a very important point to make here.

“Films like Pyasaa are universal in nature, they will remain forever. May be its importance was not realised during those days, but today.”

In short, he said the cinema is taking a new shape – a good cinema, bad cinema, indifferent cinema and an absolute trap.

The good cinema would ultimately prevail, said Benegal confidently.






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