Indian cinema is like a heroine's costume: Farooque Sheikh

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By Hindustan Times

Renowned actor Farooque Sheikh enthralled the audience in a recent event, by his thoughts on Indian cinema and the role of literature in it. He implores the audience to compel the film makers to improve. Actor and popular television host Farooque Sheikh unveiled the collector's edition
calendar by the National Book Trust on January 6 in New Delhi. Dressed in a crisp white kurta-pyjama Farooque Sheikh unveiled the calendar said: "It's very heartening and ironic at the same time to come here and speak of literature. Ironic because we need an occasion to discuss about literature and cinema both".

"The calendar looks promising and I think they should price it reasonable enough so that more and more people are able to buy it", he added.

Speaking on the occasion, S M Khan, Director General, DD News said," I would like to congratulate NBT for the noble idea of coming out with a calendar in connection with 100 years of Indian cinema. We couldn't have asked for a better personality than Farooque ji, who is related to both cinema and literature, to come and launch this calendar".

"The involvement of literature in cinema goes back to centuries. Take example of Mahabharata. We have been drawing characters from the epic and fashioned them in today's character," said Sheikh, when asked about the role of literature in Indian cinema.

Sheikh believes that cinema should leave the audience something to think about. It should not be just about entertainment. "Very strangely and sadly we've started treating cinema and television as just entertainment. As audience you should not accept whatever has been given to you. When you're spending time and money, please ask for better quality. Please compel us to improve", asked the actor.
Actor Farooque Sheikh at the event

The veteran actor is appreciative of cinema from the South, for adapting literary works. "Indian cinema has no story line these days. It's like the costumes of the heroine; we take something very thin and ask the director to make it interesting somehow. How much can you put to it?" he said in a deadpan.

"It's sad to see how we are following a tradition of using visual techniques in our films. It's something we are copying blindly from the west and not doing it better than them. So how will our films reach international platforms? Satyajit Ray is internationally known for making such simple and cult films. His films were a one man show," says Sheikh.

Should there then be a conscious effort to educate masses in film appreciation? "Absolutely! There are several film appreciation courses in the city itself. In fact many countries teach about film appreciation in schools."

The actor is all set to romance Deepti Naval in his upcoming film Listen Amaya, to be written and directed by a Delhi based couple.

About the event
To commemorate the 100 years of Indian Cinema, NBT has chosen literature and cinema as the theme of the New Delhi World Book Fair, 2012 and that of the calendar.

The calendar features some of the luminaries who have not only made some great films but have also brought international awards such as Dada Saheb Phalke, Joseph David Penkar, Ardeshir Irani, Bibhuti Bhushan Bandyopadhyaya, Satyajit Ray, Gulzar and such like. Designed by National Book Trust, the calendar is being brought out in association with Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute, Kolkata and National Film Archives, Pune.