Today's cinema is personalised, says Benegal

Today's cinema is personalised, says Benegal

The corporatisation of film production and the mushrooming of multiplexes in the country besides technological advances in film-making have led to a rash of more personalised films than the “committed” cinema of social engagement of yore, according to renowned film director Shyam Benegal.

Addressing an interactive session and answering a volley of questions on a range of issues affecting cinema and the genre of films being made lately, the highly acclaimed auteur noted that today a new band of young filmmakers is making films that project today’s reality as it ‘individually’ sees it rather than in the larger context of social engagement of which he was a pioneer.

“There is no point in being nostalgic that committed cinema of the past is not being made today that seeks to socially engage its audience and  thereby bemoan that cinema is dead in that context,” Benegal said. 

Terming it rather simplistic to do, Benegal was indeed appreciative of the films of today and the topics they take to depict that cinema and its makers are only mirroring today’s urban reality than the “rural” themes that films of the past dealt with by directors like him. Benegal, whose classics like Ankur, Nishant, Manthan and Bhumika, provided a template for the “parallel / new wave cinema movement” in the country along with his illustrious peers like Adoor Gopalakrishnan, G Aravindan, Mrinal Sen, Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak, et al., felt that “right in the face” kind of films with their own vocabulary of excessive violence, everyday profanities used being made by today’s new generation of filmmakers, were jolting the people to sit up and watch today’s realities while being entertained than be driven away by “social engagement” cinema.

Strongly endorsing the need for instinctive restraint among the filmmakers themselves than be reined in by censorship, Benegal observed that the Constitution does not allow for unfettered freedom of the individual and has its own mechanism to check unbridled enthusiasm.