Interview: Like politics, nepotism is dominant in films too: Ramesh Chandra Gaur

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Prof. Ramesh Chandra Gaur has been associated with the Ministry of Culture for more than two decades. He also served as the Chief of ‘National School of Drama’ i.e. ‘NSD’, which is called the Mecca of theatre, where he made many changes and reforms. At present, the Government of India has entrusted him with the responsibility of Head of the Art Fund Division at the Indira Gandhi National Centre, which he is performing very well. Prof. Gaur has seen the changing theater world very closely. Dr. Ramesh Thakur had a detailed conversation with him regarding this issue. Here are the highlights of the conversation-

Question: How do you see the future of changing cinema?

Answer- See, everything reforms itself with time. In this respect, cinema and theater also changed themselves. We consider cinema as a mirror of social good and evil. I think both the genres have become modern with the changing times. The cinematic screen of yesteryear was white, then it became coloured. When the scene changed, did the mood of the audience also change? Audience choice has also played a leading role in the change of cinema. Be it a film maker or a theater artist, both do what is demanded by the public. Here I must say that there is a lot of difference between cinema and theatre. Even today no one can compete with theatre.

Question: Don’t you think there is a need to promote theater further?

Answer- This is such a genre of entertainment whose relevance will never decrease, but will keep increasing. If you pay attention, even today the world of theater serves ‘value addition material’ to the audience. Theater is a very strong pillar of entertainment whose usefulness is known and understood by the audience. When embarrassing scenes are shown in films and OTT platforms, audiences tell their children about theatre. Even today, theater has established its influence in schools, colleges, villages and fields. While in NSD, I made a successful effort to take theater to every village. The echo of a play like ‘Taj Mahal Ka Tender’ is still there. For a long time, only a few ‘theatre festivals’ were organized in some selected cities in the country, but through NSD, I got 15 festivals organized simultaneously across the country. There were many vacancies in NSD which were not filled for years, they were filled first.

Question: It is said that a great artist comes out of theatre. But, after reaching Mayanagari, they also have to face all kinds of challenges?

Answer: Look, I have always been in favor of something being done that when casting of films is done, the actors should be searched properly, actors should be selected according to the script, auditions should be conducted properly? But now this rarely happens. Because as far as I feel, like politics, nepotism has become dominant in films too. Now only the children of directors, producers and financiers are cast in films. When this happens, the rights of the artist who is actually entitled are taken away. By doing this the quality of films also goes down. Examples are in front of us, the next generation of all the best artists of the past have failed in the present time. Although attempts were made to launch them forcefully, they did not work. There are countless artists who came out of NSD who did not have any godfather. Despite this, he achieved great heights due to his skills. A theater artist breathes life into his scene.

Question: There are a lot of challenges facing theater artists at present, how can these problems be overcome?

Answer: It is only when there are problems that theater artists turn to films. As far as I understand, the primary problem these artists face is livelihood. There is lack of work in front of them. In such a situation, if they get even one assignment from films, then they get good money there too. Once a theater artiste moves into films, there is no looking back anytime soon. In fact, they get great benefit from their theater experience there. Because theater artists cannot be defeated anywhere, anytime. He fits into different genres of acting. NSD has given a lot not only to Indian cinema but also to the world. This is the Mecca of acting, which has produced the best actors.

Question: Do you believe that modern cinema is becoming completely commercial?

Answer: This is the truth, there is nothing to believe. The aim of filmmakers is no longer to convey social messages through films, but rather the focus is more on earning business. When a film is made for Rs 100 crore, the film maker tries to earn Rs 200-300 crore. Cinematic screens have now started serving glamor to attract the audience and have an impact on the masses. But this attracts the youth but not the intellectuals? That is why people like theater even today as they did in the past. There is no discipline at all in current films.

Question: Has OTT also spoiled the game?

Answer- Is OTT platform okay? But their content is unbridled. This is completely contrary to the guidelines set by the government. This OTT was very successful during the Corona period or during the lockdown. But its reach is not universal to everyone. However, OTT has prevented the audience from reaching cinema halls to a great extent. OTT is providing the viewers with the entertainment they need in their homes. The youth is very attracted towards it. OTT does not appear to be a long race horse. With time, new technologies are invented. They should be tested and also welcomed. The rest depends on the taste of the audience as to what they like to watch and what they don’t.

-As told by Prof. Ramesh Chandra Gaur to Dr. Ramesh Thakur in conversation.

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