Veteran actor Om Puri is the new Chief of India's Film Development
Veteran actor Om Puri is the new Chief of NFDC Submitted by pervaizalam on Thu, 04/24/2008 - 09:56. -->
One of India's most celebrated actors Om Puri of 'East is East', 'Ardh Satya' and 'Paar' fame has taken over as Chairman, National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), India's state-run film financing organisation. It's quite unusual for an actor of his stature to join an ailing govt body known for its red-tapism and bureaucracy. His predecessor Manmohan Shetty, Chief of India's giant entertainment company, Adlabs, resigned about a year ago.
NFDC, a Government of India Enterprise, was established in 1975 with a view 'to promoting and organising an integrated development of the Indian Film Industry and to foster excellence in cinema'. It did some brilliant work in its initial years. Interestingly, Om Puri featured in some of the best known films produced by NFDC, including a super hit comedy 'Jaane bhi Yaaro' (1983).
India's best known directors such as Satyajit Ray, Shyam Benegal, MS Sathyu, Mrinaal Sen, Gautam Ghose, Aparana Sen, Govind Nihilani and Ketan Mehta have all made notable films for NFDC that won them international awards in the 1970s and 1980s.
NFDC also co-produced films such as Richard Attenborough's 'Gandhi' (1982) and Mira Nair's 'Salaam Bombay' (1988).
In the later years, NFDC became deadwood, according to many filmmakers as it couldn't afford star power and lacked a distribution network, in addition to its inefficiency.
Om Puri, addressing the media after being appointed, hoped the movies financed or co-financed by NFDC would have established stars to attract masses. He suggested if a star accepts one-third of his or her regular income for an NFDC project and defers the remaining payment till the movie generates enough money at the box-office, the corporation would be game for such 'joint ventures'.
Om Puri, Naseeruddin Shah, Lord Desai, Pervaiz Alam, Mrs Kamlesh Sharma, Monika Kapil Mohta and Jag Mundhra at an India EU Film Initiative event to honour Puri and Shah in London Recently, he was honoured by the UK-based film organisation India EU Film Initiative (www.iefilmi.com), along with fellow actor Naseeruddin Shah. He plays the role of an Imam in Jag Mundhra's film 'Shoot on Sight' (2008), releasing in May this year.
Speaking at a function 'Life and Times in Indian Cinema' at the Nehru Centre, organised by India-EU Film Initiative, last year, Om Puri protested over the use of 'Bollywood' to describe the Indian film industry, saying it was perceived to be "derogatory" and "humiliating".
"Bollywood, whenever western people refer to it, they mean Hindi films, they say 'Oh those song and dance films'. So it is a derogatory term. These terms are created by media," he said at the iefilmi event.