Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 27 There was a time when 'Bollywood Dreams' used to meet with objection, raised eyebrows and worried faces - not any more, says filmmaker Priyadarshan and adds that people's perception of the glamour industry has changed and more and more educated people are heading towards the tinsel town.
'In those times, people had wrong impression about this (movie) field, but today it has become a sought after profession, as highly educated people are entering this industry,' Priyadarshan told IANS in an interview.
'Mind you, today one can get a medicine seat quite easily, but it's very difficult to get admission to a reputed filmmaking institute,' he added.
Breaking the stereotype wasn't easy for even 54-year-old filmmaker -- he faced a lot of opposition from his father, who was against his decision of taking up filmmaking as a career.
'My father was deeply upset when I ventured into films because he often used to ask me what will happen to the future of my sisters,' he recollected.
For a young man who had started writing plays and skits during his college days, working as an assistant scriptwriter on a couple of film projects came naturally till he decided to don the director's hat in 1984 with 'Poochakkoru Mookkuthi', which was a surprise hit.
In his nearly three decades long career, Priyadarshan not only became a known name in the Malayalam, the Tamil and the Telugu film industry, but also in Bollywood.
He gave hits like 'Vellanakalude Nadu', 'Chithram' and 'Kilukkam' in Malayalam; 'Gandeevam' and 'Nirnayam' in Telugu. In 2009, he won the Nationl Award for Tamil film 'Kanchivaram'.
Priyadarshan made a forgettable directorial debut in Bollywood in 1992 with 'Muskurahat', followed it up with successful and critically acclaimed 'Gardish'. Both the movies were remakes of his Malayalam films - 'Kilukkam' and 'Kireedom' respectively.
But the filmmaker soon picked up the pieces and with 'Virasat' created his place in Bollywood for a long run. Over all these years, one can credit him for movies like 'Hera Pheri', 'Dhol' and 'Bhool Bhulaiyaa'.
Now, Priyadarshan is all set to take his long innings to another level, and will be using his expertise to improve the Malayalam film industry as he was recently appointed chairman of the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy.
'My first aim is to get over the common notion that prevails here that there are two divisions - commercial and realistic cinema. I have already made it clear that there can be no divide in cinema and there can be only one thing, which is 'good cinema',' said Priyadarshan.
'I have already started to work on one thing that all people in the industry come under one platform. This is highly essential because there cannot be two parallel movements,' he added.
Apart from this, Priyadarshan also wants to improve the condition of cinema halls in Kerala to make movie watching an enjoyable experience.
'See, today in Kerala, the only avenue for entertainment for middle-class families is to watch films in theatres. But today the facilities in theatres are appalling and hence not many come to watch films,' he said.
'Once we do the grading of theatres, new film releases will be given to those theatres which are equipped with modern facilities and not like what happens now, where releases are given to theatres in towns and cities, irrespective of the facilities, he added.
K.B. Ganesh Kumar is currently the minister for forests and environment, sports and cinema in the Kerala government, and Priyadarshan feels it is an advantage for him.
'The biggest advantage that I have compared to my predecessors is that I have a minister who understands the language of we filmmakers. I have three decades' experience in films, while the minister has 26 years of experience in the film industry as an actor,' said the director.
Ganesh Kumar made his debut in Malayalam cinema with 'Erakal' in 1985.