Imtiaz Ali, Vikramaditya Motwane, Alyque Padaamsy , Ashok Viswanathan and Ira Bhaskar were part of a panel discussion on the second day of the centenary celebration of cinema in India. While the new breakthrough filmmakers, Ali and Motwane talked about their experiences in the changing industry, Padaamsy opined on the possibility of advancing technology creating space for newcomers into the industry, Viswanathan and Bhaskar urged for the need of film education and historical knowledge of cinema. A very pertinent issue on which every panelist reflected was the rise of multiplex theatres and the future of single screen spaces and its audiences. Director Imtiaz Ali spoke of his experiences of film viewing in Jamshedpur and his decision to choose the alternative path of cinema. Even though multiplexes have come in as a boon to new filmmakers, he also suggested that the importance of single screen theatres still remains today.
Veteran ad filmmaker, Padaamsy added that new filmmakers today with the help of digital technology have changed the face of cinema in India. It’s not just multiplexes that have made this possible but filmmakers who have combined their creativity with the possibility of generating adequate revenue to sustain themselves and their cinema. Viswanathan added a historical dimension to the debate by voicing his concerns for the independent and avant-garde cinema of country. He asserted the need for festival spaces to acknowledge the presence of other cinemas such as documentary and short films because these reflect another dimension of film culture. Ira Bhaskar followed by asserting a need for young filmmakers to make an intervention with their filmmaking practice and craft. She also remarked on the democratic space of the single screen theatre which accommodated people from various avenues of life in front of the single screen whereas the multiplex has somewhere faltered by not keeping this spirit alive since it has turned to catering to certain paying brackets making cinema accessible only to a certain section of society.
Vikramaditya Motwane concluded the session with his opinions on the transition from celluloid to digital which has encouraged new genres and films to be showcased in theatres across the country. In this way, the multiplex has facilitated the screening of small films like Udaan nationally. He spoke of a new audience that has emerged because of multiplex spaces and is the main support for filmmakers like him.