Vikramjit Roy, General Manager, Film Production, National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), comes from a hardcore marketing background, having worked for 12 years with Sony Pictures Entertainment India for over a decade as its head of publicity and talent relationships and then Mahindra and Mahindra’s entertainment arm Mumbai Mantra for two and half years.
But when he speaks about cinema, his earnest passion for the art comes through. Roy, who joined NFDC in 2010, was in Pune for a meeting at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII). The jovial, ever-smiling Roy speaks on the new dynamism at NFDC and the bustle of projects it has lined up.
• What brings you to Pune?
I’m here for a very special reason. Two of the most prestigious organisations of the country — FTII, Pune and Kolkata’s Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute — are joining hands to put together a ‘Students Film Festival’, to be held here in February. NFDC, as another film arm of the Government, is supporting this brilliant initiative. We had our very first meeting on Friday.
• How did it go?
What do you think happens when two diametrically and ideologically opposite film institutions come together? It revived the whole ‘East meets West’ phenomenon for me.
• NFDC has been talking of theatres for art films. What is happening on that front?
We’re planning to create special hubs for art-house movies. In a nutshell, it'll be a platform for audiences, who wish to explore alternative genres, are interested in off-mainstream films that push the creative envelope, to come together and discuss cinema. And there will be ticketed shows screening crossover movies as well. As of now, the plan is still at a nascent stage.
• What about international co-productions?
Yes, the idea is to collaborate with international producers who wish to make films revolving around Indian themes, or those who wish to work with Indian filmmakers. For instance, Qissa, a Punjabi film directed by Anup Singh, under production, is the first ever Indo-German collaboration of an Indian film.
• You have also being doing some work on film restoration.
We have been working with several studios and agencies. We’ve restored about 79 films that have been in bad shape. These include Kundan Shah’s Jaane bhi do yaaron (made in1983), Govind Nihilani’s Party (1984), Ketan Mehta’s Mirch masala (1987), Tapan Sinha’s Ek Doctor Ki Maut (1990), Shyam Benegal’s Mammo (1994) and Suraj Ka Satvan Ghoda (1992)and Sumitra Bhave’s Marathi film — Doghi, among others. The idea was to restore them to their original glory. They have all been digitised and the DVDs are being distributed by Shemaroo.
• What is NFDC’s vision for the Indian film industry?
Well, we believe India cannot be represented by a single film industry — it is a medley, an amalgamation of multiple cinema cultures — be it the diversity in genres or languages. In the last five years, we have made films in 12 languages and introduced 13 new filmmakers to the country.
Through all our ventures, we wish to form a strong connect between all these cinemas to create a single brand called Indian Cinema.