The Jammu and Kashmir government recently released a draft film policy which envisages promoting the scenic beauty of the union territory and providing a platform for the local talent. However local artists and filmmakers say the policy is inclined more towards promoting tourism rather than regional art and cinema.
Local artists have demanded that the government should provide financial grants and logistic support to them under the recently announced Film Policy.
They say the film policy should include special provisions for the welfare of local filmmakers and artists, and the promotion of local talent and regional cinema.
The artists including filmmakers, actors, musicians and technicians stated that the support from the government was to help independent filmmakers and producers to make films and support their livelihood.
Film policy must focus on regional art, cinema: M.K. Raina
M.K. Raina, a well-known actor and director of theatre and films said the J&K’s film policy should reflect the local ethos and cinema, and help local professionals rather than focusing on the promotion of tourism and locales for outside film industries.
“Film is all about art and the ethos of the region. For tourism Jammu Kashmir has enough avenues, so film policy should not be business-centric or tourism-centric,” he said.
“Local artists and professionals need consistent support from the government. It will also help the Kashmir film industry to flourish, but the draft film policy doesn’t reflect any such objective,” he said.
Raina has been a part of many expert committees on art, culture, and films in Jammu Kashmir and outside including the expert panel of J&K Culture Academy.
He said a dedicated film council must be tasked to devise a fresh foolproof film policy so that local professionals are trained and helped in a better way.
“This document should not be superficial and vague, rather it should reflect the aspirations of every section related to the film,” he said.
Local artists should get monetary grants, other support: Mir Sarwar
A well-known Bollywood actor, Mir Sarwar said the government must support local producers, who put their hard-earned money in the making of films and related productions in J&K.
“They (local producers) should get logistic and monetary support from the government under the new film policy. Otherwise, there is no fun in having a film policy,” he said.
Sarwar, who has also ventured into production, said many states like Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh have already implemented their film policies under which the local artists get monetary grants, equipment support and other subsidies from the government.
He demanded similar support from the J&K government to benefit the local filmmakers and producers.
Get genuine stakeholders onboard, scrutinise each application: Mushtaq Kak
Mushtaq Kak, a well-known actor and theatre director said the government should also revise the registration process under the new film policy so that only genuine filmmakers and artists are facilitated.
“Fake professionals and artists should not hijack this policy. So, the government should take genuine stakeholders on board and scrutunise each application,” he said.
He said the government should understand the problems and hardships of local artists by talking to them directly.
“It would have been better if the government had approached genuine people of the industry before making a policy document,” said Kak.
Local music productions need technical, logistic support: Mudasir Ali
Like actors and producers, musicians are also important stakeholders in the film industry.
A leading singer and composer, Mudasir Ali said every policy would be incomplete without the due consideration for singers and music directors.
He said the draft film policy seems to have very little for local musicians.
“Every music production needs a huge logistic and technical support which the government should provide under the film policy,” Ali said.
“These inclusions will make a big difference and bring a big relief to the music and sound artists of J&K,” he said.
Policy should be more robust, inclusive: Tariq Javed
A veteran actor and director Tariq Javed demanded a more robust and inclusive film policy to include every stakeholder.
“The policy is more business-centric which will benefit a minuscule number of people who are related to the tourism sector,” he said.
Javed termed the film policy an “eyewash” stating that the draft policy which was released by the government recently doesn’t have much for the local artists and filmmakers.
“Artists community has suffered immensely during the last decade, especially after the Prasar Bharti stopped giving work to the local producers and artists. So, this film policy was a hope, but it disappointed us as the government hasn’t included promotion of local talent in it,” he said.
Welfare for artists, retirement policy a must: Shaikh Tahir
Shaikh Tahir, who is a filmmaker and chairman of Mass Communication Professionals Coalition said the film policy should be framed to include various welfare schemes and programmes for artists of Jammu and Kashmir.
“There are thousands of professionals associated with films, be it an actor, director, writer, musician, or technician. Some of them are trained professionals from different universities and film institutes. They should be accommodated in the policy,” he said.
The film and mass communication pass outs should also get some kind of registration under the policy.
“The government must involve more and more professionals in framing the policy. It would otherwise bring a bad name and benefit fake professionals,” he said.
Registration process for compiling the local talent directory
Under the new film policy, the government aims to collect details of local filmmakers, producers, actors, musicians, technicians, and other professionals.
“The film policy is set to benefit local artists including dancers, fashion designers, actors, choreographers, cinematographers, sound recordists, set designers, and others,” the government said in an official press release last month.
“While promoting the scenic beauty of the union territory (UT), the policy envisages providing a platform for the local talent to prove themselves on the national level,” it said.
The local talent of the J&K has been called to register themselves for the Film Policy online at https://tinyurl.com/jkfilmpolicy, by or before July 10, it mentioned
The policy has pitched J&K as a preferred destination of film shooting for outside filmmakers. It has talked about single-window clearance for Bollywood filmmakers with nearly no provision to support the local filmmakers and artists financially.