Legendary filmmaker says revival package would help sector struggling to tide pandemic-induced restrictions
GN Bureau | February 23, 2021
Lamenting the fact that the government has not done enough to uplift cinema halls badly affected by pandemic-induced lockdown and get back audiences to theatres, legendary filmmaker Ramesh Sippy has said that the film industry needs a revival package and larger government support than that announced in the budget.
‘‘Though the government has done something, it’s not enough. A lot needs to be done to encourage and help cinema halls in getting them back together and giving them a package that helps them survive,” said Sippy, adding that the industry is looking forward to more government support than that announced in the budget.
He was in a live webinar conversation with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now, during the Visionary Talk series held by the public policy and governance analysis platform.
The veteran film director and producer said that a revival package will help filmmakers and all people dependent on the industry to survive the pandemic induced restrictions so that they continue to make movies and programs.
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The question in the existing system, Sippy said, always is, who is going to give the money. “The money will either come through corporates or banks. Those who are individually strong can put in their own money. Many corporates including international corporates like Netflix and Amazon as also Disney and Star are in the business and producing films. They are bringing in a lot of money and backing the industry.”
However, Sippy said that government needs to encourage industry by way of tax breaks. “For the next three years if they really back the industry and with incentives like that, I am sure there will a lot of change.”
The industry veteran expressed confidence that if and when the industry approaches government with a plan or proposal it will surely help and not let them down. The Padma Shri award recipient also said that people from the film industry are now providing the required infrastructure and technology for the production of OTT platforms.
While responding to a question on the recent controversy over some Bollywood stars getting into the controversy over their tweets on rising fuel prices, Sippy acknowledged that social media has put in a lot of pressure on people and even earlier there were gossip columns and people were embarrassed by things and #MeToo also happened the world over.
“We can all do without controversies but have to face challenges brought in by technology. I can only make a request to extremists on both sides that please be careful. Keep away from these things if you can as it’s not good for people involved. All these actors are working hard. They are embarrassed.. How does it help.. it does nobody any good.”
Sippy said actors and entertainers are basically crowd pullers and should be allowed to say what they want to say and not compelled to say something, give their opinions or even back off. “They should not be massacred where both sides start to take advantage ….that should not be there.”
On being asked that with exhibitors facing huge losses due to pandemic imposed lockdown and if there will be a renegotiation on revenue sharing between producers and exhibitors, he said things will readjust and normalize in due course to get audiences back to the theatres. “They may have to suffer a bit but there is no cause for worry in long run. Business adjusts to the environment and to the way things happen just as we have lived through the pandemic and almost getting over it,” he said.
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