Prez asks film industry to help reset moral compass

New Delhi: Pointing out that recent cases of atrocities against women has "shaken the nation's conscience", President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday asked Indian film industry to use the powerful medium of cinema to reverse the erosion of the value system and portray positive societal values.

"The recent incidents of crime and against women and children have shaken the conscience of the nation. We must find ways to reverse the erosion of our values. In this context, I would like to stress upon the crucial role the cinema can and must play in resetting the moral compass of the nation", he said at the 60th National Film Awards function here.

"It is the responsibility of everyone associated with the film industry to use this powerful medium of cinema to portray our positive societal values of building a tolerant and harmonious India," Mukherjee said.

He noted that the language of cinema in many ways transcends regions and boundaries and the number of people who watch and are influenced by it is very large.

The entertainment industry should be mindful and sensitive to these responsibilities and take all possible steps to provide cinema that is morally-energising, he noted.

Lauding the works of veteran actor Pran, who is the winner of Dada Saheb Phalke award but could not attend the function owing to his health, Mukherjee said the actor has exelled in various roles.

"We remember Pran not only for his artistry but also for what he is in real life — a fine human being," he said.

On the occasion, he released postal stamps of 50 iconic personalities, including Dev Anand, Rajesh Khanna, Yash Chopra, Geeta Dutt and Smita Patil, of Indian cinema to commemorate the century-long journey of Indian cinema.

 The President also welcomed the initiatives taken by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting such as single-window clearance for shooting the films in India.

I&B Minister Manish Tewari said the government was instituting a 'centenary award' that would be given every year starting this year, "recognising a paradigm transformation in film-making and honouring individuals or films that had profoundly influenced contemporary, socio-cultural evolution".

He also said that to encourage parallel cinema, government was planning an image makeover for Mahadev Auditorium here with a view to making it a hub of alternative cinema.