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Mukherjee: Cinema must strike balance between entertainment, social responsibility

President Pranab Mukherjee speaking at the Centenary Celebrations of Indian Cinema organized by the South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce, in Chennai on September 24, 2013.
President Pranab Mukherjee speaking at the Centenary Celebrations of Indian Cinema organized by the South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce, in Chennai on September 24, 2013.
President Pranab Mukherjee has said that it is essential for cinema, which is a popular and powerful medium of communication, to strike a balance between entertainment and social responsibility and help reverse the erosion of values in society.
 
"The recent incidents of crime against women and children have shaken the conscience of the nation. We have also been witness to tragic communal riots in some parts of our country recently. We must find ways to reverse the erosion of our values," he said in his address at a function to celebrate the centenary of Indian cinema here yesterday.
 
The event was jointly organized by the Government of Tamil Nadu and the South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce (SIFC). 
 
"In this context, I would like to stress upon the crucial role that cinema can and must play in resetting the moral compass of the nation," he said.
 
Mr Mukherjee said it was the responsibility of everyone associated with the film industry to use the powerful medium of cinema to portray positive societal values for building a tolerant and harmonious India. 
 
"I call upon the entertainment industry to be mindful and sensitive to this responsibility and take all steps to create cinema that contributes to social transformation and moral upliftment," he said.
 
Mr Mukherjee recalled how the long journey of Indian cinema began in 1913 when Dada Sahed Phalke, a devout man from a small town, brought up in a traditional Hindu family, sold his wife’s ornaments and made the first full-length feature film -- Raja Harishchandra. 
 
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"Since then, the march of Indian cinema has been so impressive that today our film industry is vibrant and flourishing in different regions and languages," he said.
 
He said Indian cinema had now become a global enterprise. Rapidly improving technology has helped the industry upgrade itself as also to radically alter the manner in which it reaches the audience, he said.
 
"Indian film making industry is one of the largest in the world and Indian cinema has found market in a large number of countries. Increasingly our filmmakers are also being recognized in many international film festivals," he said.
 
He also took note of adoption of latest technologies by the industry, which has also taken to the medium of digital cinema. He said facilities for film production and post-production activities had vastly improved in the country and some were truly of world standard.
 
He said several famous international production houses had evinced keen interest in the Indian film industry and many Indian film enterprises are now participating in production and distribution of films around the world.
 
"Needless to say, music of Indian cinema has also been enthralling millions within India and overseas," he said.
 
Mr Mukherjee said the southern film industry had played a major role in the development of Indian film industry. 
 
"On this day, we would be failing in our duty if we do not remember the outstanding contribution made by great luminaries of South Indian cinema like M.G.Ramachandran, Sivaji Ganesan, N.T.Rama Rao, Prem Nazir, Dr.Raj Kumar, S.S.Vasan, Nagi Reddy, L.V.Prasad and many others," he said.
 
He said that it was heartening to note that a majority of the National Film Awards, conferred every year in different categories, were bagged by films made in South Indian languages.
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He also pointed out that the Government had taken a number of steps to support the industry, not only through awards but also by showcasing good films in India and abroad and contributing to the nurturing of skilled human resources.
 
"In the hundred years of India’s cinematic journey, the method of story telling and distribution technology has undergone changes. With new methods of story telling and different formats of reaching cinema to all corners of India, there is also increasing realization on the need to preserve our cinematic heritage for the benefit of future generations. The Government of India, with active support of the film industry, is engaged in efforts to restore, preserve and digitize our film legacy," he said.
 
He said the time had come to strengthen institutions such as the Film & Television Institute of India, Pune and Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute, Kolkata and make them institutions of "national importance".
 
NNN
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