GUWAHATI, June 18 � Contrary to its commitment to encourage the young filmmakers, the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) of the Government of India has allegedly started placing road blockades in front of the new filmmakers for the alleged vested interest of some of its influential officials.
In a recent instance, the NFDC has denied a talented and national award winning Assam filmmaker the assistance he deserved and this has resulted in the non-completion of his project, a bilingual film-As the River Flows/Ekhon Nedekha Nadir Xhipaare�done both in Hindi and Assamese.
Ironically, the film is the first one from the NE region produced by the NFDC.
Significantly, the theme of the film revolves round the issue of the plight of the common people in the face of atrocities of both the security forces and the militants in a time battered by insurgency and counter-insurgency activities in this part of the country.
Many people, who have even the slightest of knowledge about the film, have offered the view that the theme of the film is very important from the context of the socio-political situation in North-East India in general and Assam in particular. This is perhaps the first-ever effort by a Northeastern filmmaker to bring the socio-political issues of North-East India to mainstream Indian cinema.
According to information available with this newspaper, the film has only 15 per cent of its post-production works which remains to be completed.
Internationally acclaimed actor Victor Banerjee, who played a major role in the film, is also upset with the manner in which finances to the film has been withheld. He told this correspondent, ��� There is no reason to hold back finances on a project that is for all practical purposes complete. You can impose financial strictures if you want but you can in no way justify the withholding of funds without giving the party concerned a reason and an explanation for such an act.�
�Moreover, �NFDC was not conceived to police film making. Its object is to make things easier for talented artists to make the sort of films they want, unhindered and with no intellectual interference,� said the renowned artiste.
Madhu Ambat, a towering personality in the arena of present-day Indian cinematography, told this correspondent that the director of the film Bidyut Kotoky was doing well and the film was looking good.
"The shooting of the film was complete within the time-frame of around 31 days. Its editing was also over with only the final sound-mixing remaining to be done. I don't know what was there internally, but someone from the NFDC told me that there were accounting problems.
"But that cannot justify their holding up the film for two years," said the renowned cinematographer, who has won five National Awards and is looking for getting his name etched in the Guinness Book of World Records for working for the maximum number of films in different languages with the release of As the River Flows.
The issue has by this time created a tumult in the political as well as administrative circles with the personalities like State's MP Paban Singh Ghatowar reportedly dashing off a letter to Information & Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni pleading for her quick intervention into the matter.
Talking to this correspondent, Ghatowar said that speedy steps should be taken by the authorities concerned to release necessary funds to the filmmaker. �The NE filmmakers should be encouraged. Moreover, in this case, the film is based on a very good theme and hence it needs to be supported fully by the authorities,� said the MP.
Meanwhile, this correspondent's queries on the issue mailed to the NFDC MD and the Information & Broadcasting Ministry's Deputy Director, Film, are yet to be answered.
It is alleged by some of the NFDC quarters that the film apparently exceeded its budget. But on the contrary, it is argued that the complete control of the film was at the hands of the NFDC. Even after about two years of completing the shooting of the film in Mumbai and Assam locations, the NFDC has not been able to complete its audit on the film's cost!