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An Open Letter to Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore about Film Bazaar & NFDC with copy to Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Refrain from cutting deals with the inept, corrupt, and compromised bureaucrats. Don't come under pressure from crooks who were beneficiaries of a corrupt regime.

This is not coming from someone who has any personal axe to grind or to further a self-serving agenda. It’s an advice from a nationalist, an RSS worker since childhood, who cannot tolerate the waste of public resources and who has the guts and gumption to tell you the truth on your face. He neither wants nor expects any favours from you. However, he will not like you to be smeared with the taint and soot of sleaze. He can still tolerate incompetence but not corruption, lies and deviousness.

I understand the business of cinema far better than all of you in the govt. put together, including the babus of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and the great thinkers and planners of the NITI Aayog who plan for the film industry in the absence of reliable information and base their conclusions on fake hearsay based reports brought out by creative accounting firms like KPMG and Ernst & Young.

 

I also know the racket that goes on in the name of promoting film art and craft and who are parts of it. I’m certainly better educated about these issues than most of you, and sundry hangers-on and ‘dalals’ who still survive in the corridors of MIB. I know how do they game the system.

I believe a whole lot of people have been sending letters to you about how they will not be interested in Film Bazaar because the ex-MD of NFDC is not there any more. That's the decadent left-liberal film festival eco-system the ex-MD nurtured at the expense of public money by offering them free all expense paid trips to Goa every year to put up a pretence and parody of a film market.

And as far as MIB is concerned, it still has to account for how ex-MD of NFDC, unfit in every possible way, yet was given a 5-year extension of tenure nearly three years ago and those who were complicit in that process must be taken to task. It reeked of either gross incompetence or ministerial and bureaucratic sleaze. You were the MOS in MIB when it happened and thus cannot completely escape the blame. So, you are forewarned, that hobnobbing with an officer of questionable conduct and character, is neither in the best interest of your Ministry nor the nation or you. Here is a link to an article on the subject.

 

Appointment of MD of National Film Development Corporation (NFDC): Eye-opening case study shows gross irregularities indulged in by MIB babus & Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT)

 

I’m of the firm belief that continuing with the annual jamboree in the name of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) is a folly and waste of precious public money. It serves little purpose in these times when International Film Festivals like Locarno have begun to stream films in their programme on the Internet free of charge. It’s a commonly held expert opinion that film festivals and markets and the whole racket associated with them are fast losing their relevance in the digital age. You can organise a film festival simultaneously across the globe now without spending much money and promote the art and craft of cinema far more effectively. You just need a skeletal staff to do that. If you have to help the corrupt, inept, incompetent and compromised at the expense of the public exchequer, discover some other ‘justifiable’ ways to do it.

 

Here is an article I wrote nearly 4 years ago to enlighten the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and you about the worldwide racket of film festivals and markets and why spending public money on them is an unconscionable criminal act in a nation that must use every penny collected from taxpayers with great care. Please go through it yet again.

 

Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF) is redundant; shut it, save nation’s resources

Now, let us return to the Film Bazaar issue

The self-serving network of film festival officials, programmers, curators, media people, and NFDC officials  are obviously playing a dirty game, trying to arm-twist and blackmail you. Ex MD’s crooked minions are still at NFDC furthering their devious agenda working hard to bring their benfactor back at the helm of affairs to carry on with their profligacy and sleaze. They are the beneficiaries of a tainted, incompetent, and ineffective boss. Most of them cannot even get a job outside NFDC. This gang exploits your ignorance about film festivals and film markets.

Since you may not be aware, Film Bazaar is not actually a film market. Nothing is bought and sold there. A few film festival programmers turn up at Goa, on all expenses paid for trips by the Government of India. What do they do? They have their free Goa holiday, and once in a while manage to plug in a film or two in some of the peripheral sideline programmes of high profile film festivals.

You should confidently discontinue the Film Bazaar this year. It's not a big deal. A tiny group (Anurag Kashyap and their ilk) will be upset and may create some hoo-ha in the media. Tell the media that you plan to revamp the whole thing and come up with something that's truly worthwhile, world class, and is a genuine market for all kinds of filmed content, mainstream as well as art-house, features as well as documentaries and shorts and TV series, animation as well as live action.

You should also tell them that the revamping exercise will look at the feasibility issues as well vis-a-vis other films markets in the world and you will like to have inputs from the domestic film industry. We have been copycatting others so far without clearly defined objectives and goals. That's not how this govt. should work. We cannot spend public money on any exercise without being certain about its pay-off for the industry, art and craft of cinema, and Indian culture.

You should in fact float an open offer through the media that if independent private sector entities are interested in the Film Bazaar franchise, GOI will be willing to license it to them.

 

If you need any further inputs and clarifications on the issue, you can always ask me. I’m sure you know how to get in touch with me.

 

Warm regards,

 

Rajesh Kumar Singh

@khulkebolo @neelnabh

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