You can always see a mixed culture in Malayalam cinema: Saeed Mirza

Saeed Mirza
Cinema is a space that transcends cast and religion and practices humanity, says Saeed Mirza. Photo: Manorama

KR Narayanan Institute of Visual Arts in Uzhavoor, Kottayam was caught in the eye of a storm all these days. And to the million-dollar question of who will replace Adoor Gopalakrishnan, they have finally found an answer in Saeed Akhtar Mirza. The former chairman of Pune Film Institute and acclaimed director Saeed Mirza has won several National awards. He talks to Manorama online.

Cinema should be the space for those who dream about it

I studied at the Pune Film Institute. And later became its Chairman. I have an accurate picture of what happened at the KR Narayanan Institute. But I am not the one to comment on it. Adoor Gopalakrishnan is one of my closest friends. And I am a fan of his films. There are some alterations and additions required in the functioning of the institute. I will try to have a conversation with the students and staff and try to bring them some respite. Hopefully, that will help in soothing their wounds.

I am planning to incorporate a ‘Masters in Residents’ programme by involving the likes of Anurag Kashyap and others. We are also planning to bring artists from all over the world to interact with the students. That will include dancers, writers, directors, and technicians. We will transform the institute into a place where you can dream about cinema.

Cinema is beyond caste and religion

Cinema is a space that transcends caste and religion and practices humanity. My father brought us up with that ideology. I come from a family who has a background in cinema. My father Akhtar Mirza was a scriptwriter. My wife, Jennifer is a Christian. My sister-in-law is a Hindu. My sons Safdar and Zaheer have married women from different Nationalities (Chinese and Lebanese respectively). Therefore I am able to accept and respect other faiths and ideologies wholeheartedly.

Mixed culture in Malayalam

Cinema is a world nurtured by the efforts of a lot of people. In that world, there are no constraints on a language, religion, or Nationality. And precisely for that reason, I don’t believe in any of these terms called Bollywood, Hollywood, or Kollywood. When I was the Kerala State Film Award Jury Chairman I have seen 100s of films.

In fact, I have seen a lot of Malayalam cinema before and after that as well. People keep saying that Malayalam films are very realistic. But I would like to say that more than that Malayalam cinema makes a lot of innovative films. You can always see a mixed culture in Malayalam cinema where fantasy is presented in a different way.

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