GUWAHATI, April 11 - Despite technology, especially the smartphone and Internet, gradually occupying greater space in the entertainment sphere, the future of filmmaking is not bleak, feels ace filmmaker from Sri Lanka Prasanna Vithanage, who was the Guwahati Press Club�s guest of the month today.
Vithanage, who received the Bishwaratna Dr Bhupen Hazarika International Solidarity Award 2017, interacted with the scribes on various issues related to cinema and the society, especially the recent trends in cinema, catering to the people of a highly polarised society, creative filmmaking in conflict zones and the future of regional cinema.
With his films, documentaries and theatre carrying strong social messages, and analysing the common people�s lives from close quarters, Vithanage said that even in the age of globalisation and deeper inroads of smartphones and Internet in every sphere of life, he was not pessimistic about the future of cinema.
�We just have to find out new means of communicating with our audience and technology can be of great help in that. With applications like Netflix taking films online, even regional films will find viewers worldwide with subtitles in different languages. This broadens the horizon,� he said.
Vithanage, who considers India as his biggest inspiration, said that the spirit of oneness, that binds India together despite the diversities is missing in Sri Lanka. �After decades of a bloody civil war, the country and its society are left highly polarised. We have not been able to create that nation spirit,� he said.
Supporting proper ratings and classification system for categorising films, he said that banning films was not a solution for viewers or the authorities.
Advocating collaboration for regional cinema in the subcontinent, he said that the film promotion corporation of Sri Lanka and regional film corporations of India should have regular dialogues and a platform for promoting each other�s films.
�I am deeply inspired by Jahnu Baruah�s The Catastrophe (Halodhiya Choraye Baodhan Khaye), which changed my perception of filmmaking. Filmmakers like Satyajit Ray and Adoor Gopalakrishnan among others are the people I look up to,� he said.
�Any artiste or creative person has a responsibility towards the society to flash the reality, the far-reaching consequences of what is happening in the society, through his works. This, of course, has to be done with simplicity,� he added giving the example of Dr Bhupen Hazarika�s ability to connect with the masses.
�Simplicity is the most difficult thing in art. How you say the most profound things in the simplest manner, determines your popularity,� he pointed out.
General secretary of the Guwahati Press Club Naba Thakuria initiated the discussion, where a number of journalists from the print and electronic media took part.