wiki:National Film DevelopmentCorporation

National Film Development Corporation

The Film Finance Corporation was set up in 1960 on the recommendation of the S.K. Patil Film Enquiry Committee Report (1951). Initially controlled by the Ministry of Finance, it was transferred to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting in 1964. Its original objective was to promote and assist the mainstream film industry by ‘providing, affording or procuring finance or other facilities for the production of films of good standard’. In its first six years, it extended production loans for c.50 films, notably Ray’s Charulata (1964), Nayak (1966) and Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne (1968). Under the direct influence of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the FFC initiated the New Indian Cinema with Mrinal Sen’s Bhuvan Shome and Mani Kaul’s Uski Roti (both 1969). In 1971, the I & B Ministry laid down, as part of the FFC’s obligations, the directive that it ‘develop the film in India into an effective instrument for the promotion of national culture, education and healthy entertainment [b]y granting loans for modest but off-beat films of talented and promising people in the field’. The new policy yielded instant results as a whole generation of new film-makers was allowed to emerge. However, both the terms on which loans were granted (usually requiring collateral from producers) and the limited distribution outlets, exacerbated by the FFC/ NFDC’s apparent inability to build its own exhibition network, gave their films a reputation for lacking ‘financial viability’. In 1968 the FFC’s remit was extended to include distribution and export. In 1973 it became the channelling agency for imported raw stock, and in 1974 (after the withdrawal of the MPEAA from the Indian market) it started importing foreign films for local distribution. These activities soon became the FFC’s major profit centres leading to an increasing marginalisation of its film production/ financing responsibilities. By 1976, the FFC’s independent cinema policy came under withering attack from various quarters. The Committee on Public Undertakings issued a Report (79th Report, 1976) on the FFC arguing that ‘there is no inherent contradiction between artistic films of good standard and films successful at the box office [and] the Corporation should [s]atisfy itself in all possible ways that the films [h]ave a reasonable prospect of being commercially successful’. In 1980 the current NFDC was established by amalgamating the FFC with the partially state-owned Indian Motion Pictures Export Corporation (IMPEC), making it the sole canalising agent for the import of all foreign films, with incentives to non-resident Indians to buy, import and distribute foreign films in India. Between 1981 and 1988 the NFDC was also the parent organisation for the Directorate of Film Festivals. With the haphazard extensions of its remit and the repeated policy shifts imposed on it, the absence of a clear definition of the NFDC’s responsibilities to the Indian cinema has remained a persistent problem. In spite of its monopolistic privileges in the 80s the NFDC continued to describe itself as a victim of state policies on e.g. taxation. The 1983-4 chairman, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, stated in the 1984 report that ‘Unhealthy and underhand dealings particularly in the big cities are a part of the national distribution and exhibition system. Unless and until one becomes a part of this racket, it is practically impossible to operate in this area.’ Consequently, the NFDC sought to institutionalise a confused desire for ‘good’ cinema, measured mainly in terms of national film awards and international film festival exposure, that should be able to make a profit in a market where it could not compete with the industrial cinema’s levels of expenditure on exhibition, production and promotion. In the early 90s the NFDC changed again, its coproduction policy with Doordarshan effectively shielding it from most industrial pressures. In 1993 the NFDC took over Doordarshan’s private Metro Channel and later its ‘Movie Club’ film channel.

Glossary

Last modified 6 years ago Last modified on Jun 28, 2012, 3:32:04 PM