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G Prabha: Government should ensure films on 'artistic reality' get made

G Prabha, writer-director of the Sanskrit movie 'Ishti', feels it is the duty of the government to ensure films based on "artistic reality", which do not catch the fancy of producers, get made and released in theatres. The director of the first Sanskrit film on a social theme, said films made merely for the sake of entertainment and pleasure cannot sustain. "Films based on artistic reality may not get producers and commercial success. In that case it is the duty of other sources like governments and film societies to come forward and ensure such films are made and released in theatres for an audience interested in good cinema," he said at the first Guwahati International Film Festival here. The former Sanskrit professor said films cannot be judged on commercial success alone, as cinema is a powerful medium bringing together people from different walks of life, and is an art form with an universal language. "According to me, art is not an industry alone. It is a part of intellectual creative consciousness and I am not ready to compromise with art," he said. Released in 2015, 'Ishti' is only the fourth Sanskrit film to be made in the country, after 'Adi Shankaracharya' and 'Bhagavad Gita', both directed by G V Iyer, and 'Priyamasanam' by Vinod Mankara, based on the 17th century poet-scholar Unnayi Warrier. "There has been, however, not a single Sanskrit film that explores social realities of Indian lives. My film portrayed patriarchal power-politics prevalent among the Namboodiri Brahmins of Kerala in the 1940s," Prabha said.

The film had run into trouble with the Kerala Brahman Sabha filing a case against the filmmaker and Censor Board for hurting sentiments of the community. The case is still pending. "It has created problems, no doubt, as the film cannot be released in theatres, though it is being screened at film festivals. But it is not a figment of my imagination, but a part of reality that existed in the early part of the last century," he said. Prabha believes that modern subjects can be portrayed through the medium of Sanskrit, and he is planning another film in the language next year. He, however, said the task would not be easy as it is very difficult to find producers and distributors. "Sanskrit is not state-specific but is a language of the entire country. All other languages have a platform but in all these years, only four films have been made in Sanskrit. I hope there is a change in the future," he added.


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