'Awards are as common as potatoes'

Unlimited Passion

'Awards are as common as potatoes'

Padma Shri Dr Manoj Kumar was in town last week where his contributions to Indian cinema was celebrated. In an interview with Metrolife, he spoke about national integration, today’s cinema and Bangalore.

Though bound by age, his passion for cinema can’t be ignored. Talking about his idea of uniting the film industry, he says, “I wanted to have a film unit village, where everyone can come together to exchange ideas once a year. Whether it is Chennai, Andhra, Bangalore or Mumbai, it is one family. Films play a great part in national integration,” he says.

Further, he goes on to talk about Bangalore. “Bangalore has given us so much. People like B S Chandreshekhar, Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid, who, coming from a test match temperament, have done so well in IPL,” he says.

On his memories about the City, Manoj Kumar says, “When Upkaar was going to be released here, South was very anti-Hindi and I was scared that the movie was not going to be released at all.

Instead, on the night before the release, the then Minister Ramakrishna Hegde called me to ask as to why I had not applied for a tax exemption. I always remembered this gesture.

About the weather, he says, “This used to be the air conditioned city but then it has
given us so much in terms of industries that other changes had to be there.”

So what does he think about the film industry today. “Today’s actors and directors are the product of today’s society. Makers have lost contact with rural India,” he says. “Even though a few directors are talking about the middle class, they are limited to the metros,” he adds.

Further, expressing his disappointment about the lack of scripts, he says, “Writers say that they are inspired by a film and later they also get awards. Awards are as common as potatoes. Unless you have a fertile subject, you can’t make a movie,” he adds.

“We should make national cinema and then it will become international,” he says. About some of the movies he liked in recent times, he says, “A Wednesday, Taare Zameen Par and Rang De Basanti were good.”

What subjects would he like to see in films? “Farmers’ suicide is something that is ignored everywhere,” he says. “As a filmmaker, you owe something to the society,” he says. So is he planning to make a new film?

“Yes. I am very restless and my new movie is called Kahani Mein Kahani. It would be a contemporary movie about today, the past and the future,” he divulges. “I have already written the script,” he says.

(Related story on Pg 2)

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