28 February, 2021

Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro?

Till the '80s, they were the bedrock of an offbeat film culture. Now, NFDC and its ilk are facing closure.

Narendra Bisht
Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro?
The National Film Development Corporation is in a coma. And though it isn't official yet, NFDC's parent, the information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry is expected to pull the plug any time. NFDC's demise could, in turn, put to sleep its siblings—the Films Division (FD), the Children's Film Society (CFS) and other film-related bodies. Deaths that seem so imminent that many of the country's film auteurs are already screaming murder. None of them though deny that these bodies have long been in terminal ill-health.

It's a far cry from the time NFDC started out as the Film Finance Corporation in the sanguine '70s, to infuse new blood and fresh breath into Indian cinema. With a mandate to produce or finance quality cinema, it was the government solution to helping talented, aspiring filmmakers. It was also to prove a funding body for the graduates of the government's own Film and Television Institute of India (FTII).

And the early years saw NFDC doing exactly that, producing some of India's best offbeat cinema. It enabled filmmakers like Avtaar Kaul, Shyam Benegal,...

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