Call it coincidence, call it chance but this is what happened this morning, Anupam Kher who is the new Chairman of the Film and Television Institute of India, whose Chairman once I had been, called me after he had addressed a very successful meeting with the students; I very responsibly told him that the single most important message that he must communicate to the students of the Film and Television Institute of India is that in this age and time the FTII as it was originally conceived is a white elephant which has outlived its purpose, in fact this is what I had suggested to the Ministry when I was the Chairman at that time I had the rare privilege of being the Chairman under three Governments the Congress, the Deve Gowda Government and the BJP where Sushma Swaraj was the last Minister of Information and Broadcasting.

Each one of them were privy to the report of various studies which said that this particular institute in this age and time is fast losing its relevance, yet somehow the government lacks the political will to neutralize it or privatize it and wash its hands off to do far more important things that government needs to do address the problems of the people of this country. That apart the fact is that as we talk in the second decade of the twenty first century the Film and Television Institute of India is still there in place, it is an another story. It’s like a patient being kept alive on a ventilator because in the 21st century after the digital age has descended on man getting information and having access to courses concerned with cinema is a very easy process you can sit down in the comfort of your homes and get any information that you want pertaining to the field of cinema you are hoping to get coached in and you will have enormous information flowing into your home.

Apart from that it’s a strange coincidence that this morning I myself had gone to a digital school, the VFX School which is there at the new linking road, which is an outstanding outfit run by some very creative, vibrant minds which has a very young faculty. I had gone there realising that I who has been shaped by the analogue age and I who have worked with the celluloid as the fundamental unit need to re fashion my mind to update myself with the latest breakthroughs that have taken place in the world of cinematic skills and nearly five hours in the morning made me feel that I was a savage belonging to the stone age and the world has leapt ahead. Now if I can feel that way after been there in the business for 47 years and somebody who is still relevant and still making films, then I shudder to think what is in store for people who still our in my industry and our not felling the urgent need to rededicate themselves to relearn the language of cinema which itself is undergoing a major, major change. The students who are going to hope to make any impact in the entertainment industry need to question whether the idiom they are studying will be relevant by the time they get into the field because as I see it with the virtual reality which is threatening to take over and with the attention deficit disorder and the platforms through which content is consumed in our country and globally, one thing is certain that the traditional way of making films, consuming films will not be relevant at all in times to come.

So this Diwali my only message to everybody in my fraternity who has had a successful career and who are hoping to have successful career or are hoping to enter the film industry is that, the world that you want to be connected to itself has undergone a revolutionary change. Please pause and start learning the language once again from the younger people who are out there in the world because the consumer has changed so the content creator has to also change, Happy Diwali.

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