Q: You have been a voracious reader as a child. Stories and story books have had a deep impact on your personality. But, nowadays not many children and youth like to read books/novels. They prefer to spend their time on social media and gadgets. What impact will this technological invasion have on our lives and is there a need to curb this tech blitz?
Ans: Social media and the internet have proven to be a big blessing for the children belonging to the 21st century by providing them with a wide range of information and a source of knowledge. The new generation wants the logic behind science and truth behind mythology and rituals. They question and eventually refuse to accept crippled traditions and cultural values embedded in them by their parents and grand parents. This, however, results in a new way of thinking. The danger here is that they would end up confused with abundant information and can possibly lose focus from all their initial questions. I feel that they should respect old and new perspectives with the same acceptance and respect by inculcating the habit of reading old and new stories to search for the answers themselves.
Q: There is a barrage of information these days and most of it is driven by devious agenda. How should the young, with an impressionable mind, distinguish amongst this agenda-driven movies with films that are made after genuine research?
Ans: The youth should be taught in schools, institutions and at home about the history and conventions of mass media. Understanding how to read media in this changing world which is in the grip of commercial competition and TRPs is a vital aspect to consider while making opinions. Nowadays, negativity sells and attracts people. The youth, being our future, must know that problems voiced today existed decades ago too. India has been gripped with many crisis for centuries which include bigger problems than the daily issues of inflation. Unemployment, cast and religious conflicts, women exploitation and political protests have been there since the 1950s. Kids have to have their own mind to decide who provides reliable information with the correct intention to gain their trust and bring a change. Growing awareness about the use of mass media, its strength, it’s power and consequences is necessary to understand. The truth must be respected and maintained for the longer term.
Q: How will the digital onslaught affect the movie business in Hindi Film Industry?
Ans: Digital media is viewed to be the future of cinema. I believe that the film industry works parallel with the digital platforms. It results in the growth of platforms and opportunities to every kind of content creator. You can watch my movie Karz, made in 1980, on your phone while commuting. This outcome benefits the content maker and the viewer. It increases employment and opportunities for all the young creative minds. Large scale movies on social causes with deep messages can now reach rural areas through such advancement. According to me, it helps have a larger audience base which benefits both the industries.
Q: There have often been talks of intolerance and a curb on freedom of expression. As a filmmaker have you felt there have been curbs on your freedom of expression?
Ans: In my opinion freedom has three dimensions: Physical freedom, Intellectual freedom to think and speak Civic freedom to respect the law. Freedom can be justified in its true sense if it is combined with the sense of a citizens responsibility to care for others, your society and nation. It cannot result in feud, enmity and unrest. For example, every family has certain rules at home to ensure harmony and respect of every member. Our country is no different from a big, diverse family. We should let our authorised institutions decide the rules for us and follow them while enjoying our freedom and being conscious of our duties.
Q: Does the CBFC (Censor Board) resort to moral policing? Do you feel CBFC should restrict itself to certification of films and make no comments or demand cuts on a film’s content?
Ans: Cinema is meant for the public and we must know how to exhibit our selves in front of the population. Cinema being an impactful media brings upon many kinds of responsibilities towards the creators and exhibitors. I respect the idea of fair censorship, to maintain a sense of conduct on a large platform such as the film industry. After the certification, the people who are the consumers of films must accept or reject the film. It is important to remember that the digital platform has fewer restriction where you could take liberties to exhibit your narratives of all sorts. I believe that the scale of impact of the movie industry on people make it necessary to have a filter on what is portrayed. Just like a conduct is followed on television, I believe one for movies should also exist.
Q: You have talked about “educated illiterates” hampering country’s growth and development. Can you elaborate as to how these “educated illiterates” have hurt India and the youth in particular.
Ans: Educated illiterates are people who are educated in specific subjects, have good professional knowledge but have no idea about the given topic. This does not stop them from making strong claims about an issue that may or may not concern their field of knowledge. Without understanding both sides of the story, evaluating the situation or taking the time to check reliability they don’t end up forming sensible conclusions or solutions. They are impulsive to the media and generate wrong perceptions among innocent people by exploiting their credibility. You may see them on various mass media platforms saying something evidently exaggerated. Their credibility confuses the youth by leaving them in a confused state of mind. It makes it harder for them to distinctly separate black and white and affects their idea of the actual truth.
Q: You are the showman of Hindi Film industry with several blockbusters in your kitty. Do you still have any unfulfilled dream? It would be great if you could share your dreams with our readers.
Ans: I am a very happy and contented person as it gives me joy to give back to my society in my own way. Life and age demands a change in you. I am no more an active participant in the market competition of filmmaking. However, I am open to all creative stories that might interest and grasp my attention. I write many stories, scripts, poems, books and short films regarding social causes. My main focus is perhaps, teaching and motivating youth studying at Whistling Woods International School and all over India who are the ones to be our successors. I read osho, zen and buddha.
(Vivek Sinha is a Journalist, Filmmaker and Author of the Novel "Chip in the Madrasa". His Twitter handle is @viveksinha28)