A Welcome Change
According to mummers near the information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry they plan to shut operations at National Film Development Corporation of India (NFDC) and Children’s Film Society, India (CFSI) and instead create an umbrella organisation for all movie related activities. The idea is to restructure and realign the resources. NFDC, established in 1975, has funded or coproduced 300 films. While CFSI was set up in 1955, was based on an idea mooted by former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
Instead of these two organisations, the ministry wants one macro body for cinema that will look at promoting Indian cinema, coproducing films, including for children, and will also take up archiving and documentation of Indian films — a mandate of Films Division that has been neglected till now.
This follows cabinet secretary PK Sinha’s meeting with I&B ministry officials regarding a suggestion by government think tank Niti Aayog in 2015 to merge operations of similar units to improve efficiency. Aayog had suggested a merger of the two bodies but the idea had been turned down by officials, citing possible operational constraints. I&B minister Smriti Irani, however, decided to review that decision in October and, after consultations with film makers and industry bodies, signed a cabinet note on the matter a few weeks back.
A lot of money is obviously invested in both these organisations in the last many decades but barring a handful of breakout movies nothing concrete has come out of them. This is one of the major concerns for the I&B Ministry and hence they are willing to take such a strong step.
On the other hand, many great filmmakers were given their first chance in the industry because of these organisations but again in the last many decades no breakout name has emerged either.
One look at what the other countries are doing with similar organisations in their countries and you know where and how we are lagging so behind. The French, the Spanish and even the UK film commissions back and bankroll the new content in their respective countries with a lot of vigour and fanfare. Here most of the movies made under the umbrella of the existing organisations go almost completely unnoticed.
Hopefully, the government can get behind and fast track this new thought and right collaborations with mainstream people in the industry this thing can really catch on. Here’s hoping for the best!