Film study should be included in school curriculum: Benegal

Shyam Benegal
KOLKATA: Renowned filmmaker Shyam Benegal Thursday said study of film language should be included in the school curriculum either at the primary or secondary level to raise the quality of cinema.

"Film is an excellent medium to explore realities. Its mass reach makes it as an effective tool of dissemination of information," said Benegal.

"Film as a subject of study is relatively new in academia… what we do not have is film education that helps to raise the quality of cinema further, as we all know that cinema is far more accessible than the written words," added the 77-year-old.

He said it while delivering the convocation address at the Calcutta University.

"Visual images help to learn more easily through the medium of television and cinema than through books. There are broadly two aspects of cinema that needs serious study, the course of the language of film as subject and at later stage film as literature," said the The Dadasahab Phalke awardee.

"The course in film language should find place in fact in the school curriculum at the primary or secondary level alongside the study of all other languages. It is a hugely expressive and comprehensive language with its own vocabulary of idioms. Cinema has grammar of its own that’s gets enlarged with changes in technology," he added.

The seven time National Award winner, known for films like "Mandi", "Arohan", "Zubeidaa" and "Welcome to Sajjanpur", also felt that understanding the language of cinema is essential for understanding its views and effective expression.

Benegal, who was conferred a DLitt (honoris causa) by Calcutta University, said social media has given birth to new form of language use.

"Impact of social media is gradually becoming evident in all fields of life – personal, social and political. News and information on social media travels like wild fire. In entertainment its effect has been phenomenal," he said.

Benegal also took a dig at Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal’s reaction regarding controlling Facebook and Twitter.

"Government has a tendency to resort to knee jerk reactions when confronted with controversial material – what they consider material – on social media. Our esteemed HRD minister was contemplating exercising some kind of control. Soon, however, better sense prevailed," he said.

Faced with severe criticism, Sibal has said that the government has no plans to censor the social media but they have to obey the laws of the country.