Internationally acclaimed Indian filmmaker and the jury chairperson of the 65th National Film Awards, director Shekhar Kapur is amazed at the quality and standard of regional cinema and believes that it is giving Hindi cinema a run for its money.
On Friday, Kapur, who announced the awards along with other jury members present at the Press Information Bureau here, was impressed with the scale of regional cinema.
Judging the outcome where most of the categories were dominated by regional cinema, especially by Malayalam, Assamese, Bengali and Marathi cinema, Kapur told IANS: “Regional cinema is giving Hindi cinema a run for its money.”
The filmmaker said that he was amazed by the quality and standard of regional cinema.
Ten days of watching films, talking to my jury members… I was stunned at the quality of films not in Hindi cinema, but regional cinema, cinema that has never come up before,” he said before announcing the winners.
“I was stunned after 10 days and last night I thought it’s time to make a film in India because the standard of regional cinema is world beating… It is so difficult to make regional cinema. I know we are all filmmakers… Give every filmmaker his or her due and that’s what we are doing,” he added.
Hailing Malayalam cinema especially, Kapur said that “Malyalam cinema is much better than the Hindi film industry… it is far ahead”.
The filmmaker said that the most important problem that regional cinema makers face is finance for their projects.
“It is so difficult to make regional cinema, there are so many aspects to look into. We are all filmmakers, we know the bit on finance needed. The don’t have a Shah Rukh Khan. It is so difficult,” he said.
With his last film in India being “Bandit Queen” two decades ago, he says it is time for him to make a film here.
“‘Bandit Queen’ was the last film I made in India, after that I never made a film in India for a reason. I wanted to make better films than Hindi cinema offered me, and for years I wanted to come back here and make films in India. For years, I have been watching films and saying ‘the standard of Hindi films is just not good enough. Why should I go back? …’ ten days ago I changed my opinion,” said Kapur.
Kapur says that giving awards also means that those films are meant to be seen and that it is important to not go by the words of film critics as they are more or less prejudiced.
“Why only allow the film critics to see the films. There is a very thin line between prejudice and judgment. Film critics are usually very prejudiced. You must watch these films. A lot of people have done a lot of hard work,” he said.