As Indian cinema completes 100 years of entertaining audiences worldwide, southern filmmakers list their dos for raising the bar higher and making the industry more competitive. Some changes listed by different members of the fraternity:
Gender equality: Tamil filmmaker Lakshmy Ramakrishnan says the change we want to see in society should be reflected on the screen. Women are still not treated on a par with men and should be actively welcomed in the industry.
Original films: Instead of relying on remakes, veteran Telugu filmmaker Bapu aka Sattiraju Lakshmi Narayana feels there should be more films with original content. "We have not run out of story ideas, but we have stopped innovating with our stories," he said. In his view, stories that deserve to be retold are the ones people of the present generation are unaware of or have long forgotten. Why doesn't anybody want to make films about unsung heroes or the greatest battles ever, he asked.
Indie films: Tamil filmmaker Seenu Ramasamy supports the independent filmmaking culture, but says these films seldom cater to a large audience. "If we don't make films for global audiences then how can we ever dream of earning worldwide recognition for our cinema?" he asked. Bollywood had begun promoting low-budget films solely based on content. Other industries too should encourage independent films, especially the Tamil film industry, which still makes films for its star actors.
Innovative storytelling technique: It's high time filmmakers moved away from the five songs-two fight sequences-a few comedy scenes pattern of filmmaking, says Telugu filmmaker Krish Jagarlamudi. The time, he said, had come to experiment. You can still make films without songs provided there is content. Indian films are not just about hero-worshipping and colourful songs.
Animation Films: An animation films buff, Telugu director Nandini Reddy, feels Indian animation films should be made for global audience. "We have the workforce, but we have not honed our skills to make better animation films," he said. Despite films like "Chhota Bheem", the art has not been mastered. We have a wealth of stories but lack the backing of big studios, Reddy said, stressing on the need to collaborate with Hollywood studios and revive the idea of making animation films on our mythological characters.
New breed of producers: Filmmaking should be used as a divine interface for creative and effective interactions dealing with relations, emotions and societal influences, rather than as a monetary division of fiction and fantasies, says Telugu producer Neelima Tirumalasetti. Over a period of 100 long years, Tirumalasetti said, we saw a lot of junctures and trends in Indian cinema but I reckon we're stepping backwards in the disguise of commercial filmmaking. The filmmaker stressed on the need for young talent educated about the socio-economic and political scenario.
(Haricharan Pudipeddi can be contacted at email@example.com)