President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee presented the 62nd National Film Awards yesterday (May 3, 2015) in New Delhi.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said cinema has been an integral part of Indian culture and entertainment from the days of Dadasaheb Phalke’s Raja Harish Chandra of 1913, the first film made in India. Indian cinema transcends national boundaries and is a powerful purveyor of ideas and values that impact the consciousness of millions of people. Indian movies not only showcase the multicultural diversity of the country but are also a tribute to its linguistic richness. They are a national treasure and our country’s “soft power” in the true sense of the term, forging international ties and navigating global horizons with ease.
The President said cinema in India crosses all boundaries of region, caste, creed and religion. It reflects the immense diversity of our nation which is home to different cultures, religions and languages. It shows the confluence of modernity and tradition as well as our ancient past and billion aspirations for the future. Digitization and the advent of modern technologies do not mean that we lose touch with the grass roots. Our content has to be our strength as it is entrenched deeply in our vibrant cultural milieu.
The President urged the film industry to look beyond markets and work together to help nurture universal human values which draw on our rich civilizational heritage that celebrates diversity and nurtures inclusiveness. He quoted Ritwik Ghatak, a great filmmaker and said ‘Cinema is no art for me. It is only a means to the end of serving my people’.