India is a diverse country with a multitude of cultural compositions and communities having varieties of interests in the domains of arts and creativity. We have a plethora of painting styles and compositions across the geographical spectrum in our country, for example, Pahari paintings in Himalayan region, Rajput paintings in Rajasthan, Madhubani paintings in Bihar and so on.
Likewise, we have different dance forms in different regions. Whatever we might possess by calling them as rich cultural heritage, their preservation and continuation cannot be ensured unless we liberalize and democratize them through a clearly defined curriculum and educational techniques to impart them to every stratum of society. The children coming from margins cannot afford such education and training given their socioeconomic position. Our country is full of talent and creativity but we have been failing for long to tap such young energy which can create miracles in the domain of arts and creativity.
Similar is the case with film education in our country. The institutions that teach film can be counted on fingers. Hundreds of aspiring young adults coming from different educational backgrounds are struggling to learn the nuances of filmmaking and writing about films but their dreams shatter once they realize how difficult it is to get some training in this field.
The limited numbers of film institutions can never fulfill the dreams of millions of aspiring film enthusiasts in our country. The young and technically sound youths have found their ways through several democratized platforms such as YouTube, Netflix and others. These successful young filmmakers are well equipped with modern media technologies but the ones who come from economically or socially disadvantaged backgrounds might find it as difficult as any competitive government job.
The Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune has initiated a program called Skilling India in Film and Television (SKIFT), through which it is imparting training in selected domains of filmmaking in different geographical regions of the country. However, the scale at which it is imparting such training is still very slow given the intensity of demand for such training programs in India. Also, the fee structure is very exorbitant for an aspiring student coming from a disadvantaged economic background.
Apart from expanding technical and entrepreneurial education in India, we need to democratize and expand the liberal, arts and film education to accommodate the diversities in the fields of education. To make society more tolerant, empathetic and humane, we need arts, cinema and cultural studies at a larger scale. The status of such studies in India is very grim. Perhaps, we need to pay more attention before it starts degrading and diminishing. We have appreciated art for centuries, be it Raja Ravi Verma or Abanindranath Tagore. We have legends in filmmaking as well like Satyajit Ray, Ritwit Ghatak and several others.
Along with engineering, management and other employment-oriented education, we should give serious thought to arts and film education which can be one of the leading fields in terms of generating employment in our country. Bollywood is already recognized across the globe as one of the leading film industries even in terms of turnover and employment generation.
Can we have systematically framed curriculum and training modules for budding artists and filmmakers at par with the international framework? I am sure; we can have it provided our policymakers pay enough attention to it. There are hundreds of media technologies companies ready to hire the skilled workforce in the domain of creativity, arts and film but they find it hard to accommodate the partially trained or non-trained artists and aspirants.
India has the largest working human resource in the working age group which can be the backbone of the future workforce across the globe provided they are adequately trained in their respective domains. Since we cannot forcefully make everyone an engineer or entrepreneur, we should look forward to an alternative which is as good as any domain in terms of generating employment and wealth for India.
Can we take this risk of democratizing arts and film education which are confined to a selected section of the society and class? The democratization process can result into bridging the gap and inequality in arts and film education in terms of participation from different sections of the society, and can also generate an adequate amount of employment for the trained artists and filmmakers. The goals of harnessing creativity and generating employment can be realized simultaneously provided we give it a serious thought.