indian cinema heritage foundation

Reorganisation Of The Film Industry

20 Oct, 2020 | Archival Reproductions by K M Multani
A still from Boot Polish taken from Cinemaazi archive

The Motion Picture Congress held in 1939 under the presidentship of the late Satyamurty had raised high hopes for the re-organisation of the film Industry which has ever since its inception being growing in a lop-sided manner due to lack of proper planning and control.

The birth of the Film Federation of India in 1952 was another event of great significance which revived the hope that now, at last, the trade leaders mean business and the Industry will be properly organised as it is in other major film-producing countries of the world. The survey of the last 9 years of the work of this august body however shows that it has failed to achieve this objective.

The fact came to the force at the meeting at the F.F.I. held in October 1961 at New Delhi, when it was decided to set up a sub-committee to explore ways and means for revitalising the F.F.I.  This is indeed a sad commentary on the trade leadership of the Film Industry, which ranks second in the World with the annual product over 300 of feature films.

To a student of the Industry, the causes of this failure are obvious. No industry or for that matter any institution whether it is a workers' union or a nation, can be properly organised without dedicated and effective leadership. This is one big reason for all the troubles in the film industry. We have not had trade leaders with real calibre who could serve the industry which has showered its choicest gifts on many of them. From mere nonentities, most of the top guns of the industry past and present have risen to high position with great fame and wealth. Yet not one has served the industry with devotion and selflessness of a Nehru or Chavan.

Since 1939 not one all-India trade's convention has taken place. Even the celebration of the Silver Jubilee of the Talkies was a poor affair.

Whenever a crisis faces the industry someone appears on the scene to give a lead and as soon as calm is restored the leader retires into oblivion. This kind of sporadic leadership cannot possibly help in the reorganisation of the industry which has to be a long range planning job. The rotation of the presidents of the F.F.I. is another convention, which nullifies all efforts to reorganise the industry. If any serious work is to be done in this direction then the first step is to appoint a capable person with contacts in Delhi to take charge of the active industry as the executive Chairman of the F.F.I. and provide him with a complete secretariat. Whenever this suggestion is made the invariable reply is - where is the money? Isn't it shameful to offer such an excuse? When Shri Morarji Desai insisted that he must have 75 lakhs from the industry for exchequer, we paid it after making a lot of hue and cry. If the industry needs only one lac every year for its own good, why should there be any hesitation or a reluctance? When a small worker can pay 25nP. to 50 nP. every month out of his wages to maintain the office of his union the producers, the distributors or the exhibitors can easily meet the financial requirements of the F.F.I. which should acquire professional leadership at all costs.

The last few years have been marked by the emergence of a large number of associations in the industry. This primarily a good sign. The wayward element in any trade can be brought under some discipline, only when that organises itself and sets up a trade organisation. The law of the jungle, which prevailed in most sectors in the industry hitherto is slowly and gradually becoming a thing of the past. The new move to revitalise the F.F.I. should be supported by one and all whole-heartedly. After that is done we must find and Eric Johnson to clean out stables and deliver the goods.

This article is taken from Film Industry of India compiled by B K Adarsh in 1963. The image used is taken from Cinemaazi archive and was not part of the original article.

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