In a letter sent on Tuesday against the merger of public institutions, including the Films Division (FD) and the National Film Archives of India (NFAI), with the National Film Archives of India (NFAI), actor Naseeruddin Shah, filmmaker Vikramaditya Grove and 50 others were included. Film Development Corporation (NFDC).
The letter, sent to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, was signed by academics, students and members of civil society.
It opposes the government’s move to “restructure / merge” the Children’s Film Society of India (CFSI), the Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF), FD and NFAI with the NFDC, announced in December 2020.
The letter said the move was made without consulting the concerned as there was a lack of clarity and transparency in the merger process.
In December last year, the Union Cabinet approved the merger of four government film media units into the NFDC with the aim of integrating activities and resources and better coordination to ensure coordination and efficiency in the functioning of the bodies.
“Since the MIB’s announcement of the revaluation of these units in January 2019, we have followed up with a number of announcements made by the Government.
“Therefore, it is surprising to learn that the report was submitted by a high-powered committee under Mr Bimal Zulka without consulting the primary stakeholders. The fact that the report was not made public despite the RTI request raises further questions about its legitimacy. The whole process,” the letter said.
This raised concerns about the inadequacy of the report, especially in light of the government’s recent announcement to close “these three units by January 2022”.
In a letter to filmmakers Pratik Watts and Shilpi Gulati, the government’s decision led to speculation that the film archives and government property would eventually be “privatized”.
It described the ministry’s decision to close FDI and NFAI as a “tragedy in the name of Indian film heritage”.
“As crucial partners in this matter, we are concerned about the lack of clarity and transparency in the merger process, and there is widespread speculation in the media that this whole move is a precursor to the future privatization of our film archives and government assets.
“In view of the urgency of the matter, we request MIB to take immediate action to dispel any doubts that may arise at this stage and to preserve the history of Indian cinema and the future of Indian filmmakers who are differently associated with these institutions.”
The letter was signed by filmmakers, actors, writers and editors from across the country, including Nandita Das, Anand Patwardhan, Gitanjali Rao, Nimisha Nair, Nishta Jain and Shama Saidi.
The letter lists complaints, including a request to release the report of the high-powered committee headed by Bimal Zulka “immediately”.
“Public fund institutions such as the FD, NFAI and CFSI should not be merged with a corporation such as the NFDC.
“The government should declare the FD, NFAI and CFSI archives a national heritage – publicly funded and publicly owned. Says.
The letter emphasized the need for government agencies to work more effectively when they receive “increased autonomy” and more state funding.
The government must take responsibility for empowering them and actively work for the preservation, nourishment and promotion of the film’s film heritage and culture in the country, “he said, adding that” our country is made up of government employees, filmmakers, archivists, students and film lovers. ” .
“In view of the above, we demand that the process of restructuring these public institutions be halted until the pending issues of transparency and public opinion are resolved. We sincerely hope that our grievances will be considered by the Ministry.” It added.