His in-depth know how of films catches the attention of every film enthusiast. In fact, his recent workshop on introduction of film appreciation in Goa witnessed over 70 participants who flocked from different parts of India.
After teaching Political Science at St Xavier’s College, Mumbai, Suresh joined Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune
Photos by Siddesh Mayenkar
as a professor of Film Appreciation. He has also previously been the Director of the National Film Archive of India, Pune. His workshop is part of the course organised by Entertainment Society of Goa in association with Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) and National Film Archive of India, Pune.
“The course will span over eight days and this is the first time, I agreed to come to Goa after turning it down for the last three years. Even though I retired from FTII in 2009, I am always open to teaching film appreciation when the institute asks me to. The problem with the previous years was that I used to give the course in Mumbai in May and I didn’t like to repeat myself again in July in Goa. This year I was in between chapters of my new book and I thought it would be a nice time to see Goa in the monsoons and give the workshop, it was adding work with pleasure,” he says with a smile.
Overwhelmed with the success of the workshop, Suresh did notice that there were many film lovers who surpassed his age expectations. “There were many senior journalists from Goa who showed great interest in the workshop. We often categorise films with young audiences but it is amazing to see the elder people showing interest in learning. I have a very positive approach for my classes and try to make it different to explain my point with film clippings.”
Suresh has published several articles on cinema and has even written a book, ‘Light of Asia: Indian Silent Cinema 1912-1934’. He is updating the book with more information that has been retrieved about the silent era. “We are planning to digitise the films. The first film that is surviving is ‘Ayodhyecha Raja’, a Marathi film. I have a nebulous idea to write a book on the first decade of Indian sound in Cinema, hopefully in the near future.”
How does Suresh define cinema? “Cinema is a recording medium that is very close to reality. The stories are those of life experiences that are shown in shots and sequences. It is important to know what goes into a film, to make it more expressive and meaningful that it appeals to our senses and we can identify with the film.”
Indian cinema is vast and ranges over different genres, where does Suresh see Indian cinema standing in world cinema? “I have a certain view of life. There is not enough funding for art films that are close to reality. Today, films are becoming too broad, they want to communicate too fast. Compared to India, Thailand, China, Iran and Taiwan have great documentary films. When India was shining in Cinematic glory in the silent era and early years, the other cinemas were rising. India’s time will come back soon,” he concludes.