I want meaningful Indian films: new NFDC chairman Om Puri

April 25th, 2008 - 11:45 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Taare Zameen Par
By Radhika Bhirani
New Delhi, April 25 (IANS) Veteran actor Om Puri, who has just taken over as chairman of the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), says he hopes to promote meaningful films that impart a social message. “I really want to encourage films whose subject is viable to the needs of society and those which have a meaning. I will try my best to help those people who have meaningful scripts but cannot stand on their own financially,” Puri told IANS in a telephonic interview from Mumbai.

NFDC is India’s state-run film financing body and Puri took over as its chairman Wednesday.

According to the actor, who has given stellar performances in many Indian as well as international movies, films like “Manthan” and “Aakrosh” are the kinds that the Indian film industry needs today.

“Films made by Shyam Benegal and Govind Nihalani were huge hits and they were not commercial. For that matter, ‘Malamaal Weekly’ was also a very well made film,” Om commented.

He also feels that a commercial script with a star-studded cast is not always required for a hit film. “If a film has a good script and is well made, there is no reason that it would not fair well.

“Take for example ‘Taare Zameen Par’. I agree that Aamir (Khan) was a part of it, but he was not the star of the film. The star was the child. Aamir only appears in the latter half of the film. The script was wonderful and it worked wonders,” Om maintained.

He feels that the Indian audience has always been ready to accept meaningful cinema, but filmmakers have been lacking the will to do it thinking that such films will not do well at the box office.

“I went to see ‘Taare Zameen Par’ and ‘Khuda Kay Liye’ and I was really happy to see that the hall was full. This clearly shows that the audience is appreciating quality cinema,” he said.

On being asked about his plans to resuscitate the film body as well as the industry, he said: “It is too early to plan for my entire tenure as I have just joined. But later the board would decide the policies together. I am just a figurehead.”

As the new chairman of NFDC, Om plans to introduce a concept called “Cooperatives”. In this model if the script or the film demands established and famous actors, NFDC will approach them with an offer to work in the film for a subsidised fee.

If the film is a success, the profit garnered will be shared between all the people associated with the project on their actual cost basis.

“The idea behind this concept is to give a boost to filmmakers with experiential and viable scripts but limited budgets. This proposal will help procuring prominent talents for small budget films,” he said.

At the moment, he is upbeat about his forthcoming films, which include “Singh is King”, “Mere Baap Pehle Aap”, “Dilli 6″, “Kushti”, “Mukhbir” and also an international film titled “Shoot On Site”.

“All these films are almost ready for release and the good part is that I am playing different roles in each of them,” he said.

(Radhika Birani can be contacted at radhika.b@ians.in)

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