‘Bollywood’s domination has harmed India’s regional cinema’

May 24th, 2009 - 11:57 am ICT by IANS  

By Saibal Chatterjee
Cannes, May 24 (IANS) Indian cinema needs to change drastically in terms of both content and approach in order to play its rightful role in the world market, feels Jerome Paillard, director of the Marche du Film or the Cannes Film Market. He says Bollywood’s larger-than-life presence tends to play down regional cinema.

“We are waiting for another Satyajit Ray to emerge from India, but it seems the country currently does not give its filmmakers the sort of environment that is needed for that to happen,” Paillard told IANS in an interview on the closing day of the Cannes Film Market.

He believes that Bollywood’s overwhelming domination of the business has stunted the growth of Indian cinema.

“To make matters worse, the government has not worked towards creating an infrastructure that can encourage independent voices and a more effective international co-production regime,” Paillard said.

“In recent years, many young Indian producers and directors have been coming to the Cannes Film Market to explore avenues of international growth, but that is not happening as fast as it should,” he said.

“The Indian government must look at extending more meaningful support to independent filmmakers. Bollywood has the wherewithal to sustain itself.”

Talking about the India Pavilion in the Cannes market, he said it would wear a much busier look if film producers from around the world saw value in entering into tie-ups with India.

“Co-production treaties will work only when both parties benefit from the deal. At present, India gives no real incentives to foreign producers in the form of rebates or logistical support,” Paillard added.

The Marche du Film, which was set up in 1959, is in its 50th year. Although the final figures are not in yet, Paillard asserts that the Marche du Film has done much better this year than what was initially projected.

“The overall decline in size and business this year has been no more than four percent. The global participation this year has been more or less the same as last year,” he said.

Paillard added: “Quality films have shown strong pre-sales, and completed products have also been picked up quickly. Though average budgets have declined and films have attracted lower prices, many companies have done better business than ever before. So I don’t believe the Film Market scenario is directly connected with the global economic crisis.”

He said the Cannes Film Market will continue to grow in the future and keep pace with changing technology.

“But while different modes of delivery have emerged and will continue emerging, cinema will continue to centre on movie theatres,” he added.

(Saibal Chatterjee can be contacted at saibal.chatterjee@gmail.com)

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