BHUBANESWAR: Award-winning director Himanshu Khatua, whose movies 'Sunya Swarupa' and 'Kathantara' won critical acclaim spoke on the present status of the Odia film industry, controversy over his latest film 'Matira Bandhana' and the Gen-next filmmakers in an interview with Minati Singha. Excerpts:
Q-How do you view the growth of Odia cinema over the years?
A- Odia cinema has registered a remarkable growth over the past few years in terms of number of films released. But qualitatively there has not been any significant change.
Q-What do you think is the main reason for deterioration of quality of Odia cinema?
A- I feel many seasoned filmmakers and producers who love the profession are not making films anymore. On the other hand, many non-professionals, who have the money to invest, have started making films as one-night stands. They lack commitment for the industry for which others are suffering.
Q- You latest film 'Matira Bandhana' has got into controversy over allegations of investment by controversial money circulation company Seashore Group. What is your say in it?
A- Frankly speaking I was shocked when I came to know that Rs 1 crore has been spent on the film. I was not dealing with the accounts and the film was not a commercial film one and there was no scope for such a huge budget. Moreover many artistes, technicians, studios, including me have not got our dues. I had no idea about where the money came from, it was just an assignment for me and I finished my work in time. I have been trying to contact the producer of my film for the last six months but he is not even available over phone. Besides, the producer was involved in many big projects and literary and entertainment ventures, so none of us were suspicious about the funds.
Q-How can we check such dubious investments in the film industry?
A- It is very difficult. The Film and Television Producers Guild of India can make some strict guidelines but it can hardly be effective.
Q- Though a large number of Odia films are being made, filmmaking is not a profitable business in Odisha, nor are artistes getting enough money compared to other regional industries. How things can be improved?
A- Here we strongly need the state government's intervention and support. There should be a Film Policy, Odisha Film Development Corporation should be revived, more infrastructure, multiplexes and cinema halls need to be increased.
Q-Do you find the passion for filmmaking among youngsters?
A-The kind of passion and interest we people used to have for filmmaking is missing among today's youth. Those who are coming to filmmaking compare the profession with engineering, MBA and medicine. They lack ideas, creativity and energy. If someone has passion, a sense of aesthetics and knowledge of technology one can make beautiful films.