97-year-old Jamia Millia Islamia today added a new chapter by launching its much sought after Film Club to enthuse a film culture in an institution which is well-known for its media studies.
The Club was inaugurated by actor Sharmila Tagore at an impressive function at the jam-packed Dr M.A. Ansari Auditorium of the university, presided over by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Talat Ahmad.
Kiran Karnik, former President, NASSCOM and a well known broadcaster was the Chief Guest along with Amit Khanna, noted film and television producer-director and Prof. Rajbir Singh, Director, Consortium for Educational Communication were among those present at the function.
Veteran actor Sharmila Tagore, who has more than 100 films to her credit, said that she was delighted to inaugurate the club given that AJK Mass Communication Research Centre of the university has produced several distinguished alumni who are a part of the Indian film industry.
Sharmila Tagore, Padma Bhushan awardee and former Chairperson of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) told the students that films had the potential to offer not just hope but the remedy to many ills of society. The club will help students in understanding new ideas and latest trends that are so wonderfully portrayed through films.
Karnik reminded the audience that a film club was not just about viewing films– good films belonging to various genres but it was much more than that, it was a place where one would discuss the film, its message and perhaps get an opportunity to talk to the film makers.
He added that “a film club would provide an opportunity to discuss and dissect a film as well as draw learning and insight from it. It is this that would differentiate us from other passive viewers of cinema”.
Karnik attributed three functions to the fantastic medium of cinema — joy, insight and learning.
Amit Khanna in his keynote address on the significance of films said that they imbued the viewers with a platform to understand and appreciate diverse cultures. Tracing the history of cinema since the time of the Lumiere brothers and then touching on the specific history of Bollywood and the early development of cinema in India, he said that by 1920 India had become one of the world’s largest producers of films.
Alluding to the setting up the Film Inquiry Committee in 1922 which subsequently led to the formation of a film censoring body, Khanna said that he was personally against censoring of film and had fought it for the last five decades. He recommended that instead of censorship we should slowly opt for self-certification.
Khanna reminded the students that cinema is a culmination of various art forms and transforms the written word, thought and ideas into compelling stories with the help of sound and visuals. It was, therefore the most suited to deal with a complex demographic audience like the one that India has. Cinema is a mirror of society.
Prof. Rajbir Singh said that the film club would provide the students with a platform to develop critical thinking in cinema studies.
Prof. Talat Ahmad said that when he came to Jamia he was surprised that despite MCRC, the university did not have a film club and, therefore, he was very keen to start one at Jamia. Reminiscing his own student days at AMU where the film and drama clubs were very active, he said that a lot of learning and education comes from watching films. He asked the students to enrol for the club and recommended weekly and fortnightly screenings to make the club more vibrant.
Prof. Iftekhar Ahmed, Director, AJK MCRC at whose initiative the film club has been launched, outlined its key objectives and hoped that the club will play a significant role in not just showcasing the best of Indian and international cinema to the students of Jamia but would provide them with an opportunity to meet with film personalities.
He also informed the setting-up of an 11-member committee to oversee the functioning of the club.