‘Indie cinema will flourish’ if Bollywood supports offbeat films, says Majid Majidi

Praising the new talents of Indian cinema, famed Iranian director Majid Majidi says if Bollywood supports offbeat films, independent cinema would flourish. “I have found new talents in this generation in India. If we have proper (training) and situation for them, we can have a new Satyajit Ray very soon in India. The capability of Indian cinema is a lot on the technical side as well as content,” Majidi said while addressing a conference at the 24th Kolkata International Film Festival.

Sharing his take on Ray’s work and current Indian cinema, he said, “There is a big difference between Satyajit Ray’s cinema and Bollywood films. Ray’s cinema was mostly based on realities, real locations, social subjects, respecting human values. Bollywood cinema is mostly focusing on box office. I want to say that I don’t want to neglect Bollywood as it is an industry. But if it supports artistic cinema as well, it could be a good chance for making independent films.”

The big difference between Iranian and Bollywood films is while the former is based on realities and social subjects, Bollywood films attaches more importance on the commercial side, celebrated Iranian Majidi said. There is a very well balanced, new generation in India and if they get the right kind of support, “that could be good for independent film makers in India… we can have new Satyajit Rays.”

Four popular works of the Iranian filmmaker including “Beyond the Clouds”, starring Ishaan Khatter, is being screened at the event. His film “Muhammad: The Messenger of God” was made to propagate the true essence of Islam — peace, love and friendship. “Because of the cultural similarities between Iran and India it was my intention to make a feature film in India and that really happened with ‘Beyond the Clouds’. It was a brilliant experience for me as all the crew members, the talents were fully Indian,” he said.

Explaining his take on censorship, Majidi said it is a “kind of rules and regulations”. Even without it, Majidi would have made the same kind of films as he does not pay much attention to it but the vision of the director is very important and it has to be clear.

Mentioning the situation of censorship in Iran, he said: “During the Ahmadinejad (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the sixth President of Iran from 2005 to 2013) rule, we had a very radical rule. The vision of work culture was different. “The next government actually opened new gates for filmmakers and provided new opportunities. It is a kind of challenge, the most important thing is that artistes shouldn’t be locked behind borders and should find their own ways”.

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