IBC presented its prestigious judges’ prize this year to Bollywood superstar and TV personality Amitabh Bachchan in a lively, all-singing, all-dancing session that celebrated 100 years of Indian Cinema.
The award, presented by IBC conference chair Michael Lumley, was given in celebration of Indian Cinema, which is celebrating its 100th year, and in recognition of Bachchan’s “unparalleled contribution” to the industry.
“I accept this very humbly on behalf of the Indian Film Industry of which I am only a small part,” said the Sholay star who has featured in more than 180 movies.
In the Friday keynote with Mumbai Media City chairman Mohinder Walla, Bachchan noted that the Indian film industry – which produces over 1,000 films every year that reach 3.8 billion people – was growing in importance.
“Cinema was not such an important entity as far as our society was concerned 70 years ago. People from good homes could not bring themselves to be associated with it. And now to find myself here – an Indian actor at an international conference – it’s indicative of the growth that Indian cinema has seen.”
Bachchan noted that the West must realise that these films are made to please the common man who earns between eight and ten rupees a day and does not want to see the squalor of his own life reflected on film.
However, Bachchan – also the host on the Indian version of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire – acknowledged that a growing middle class and Indian’s huge 18-35 demographic were the main cultural influencers and it was this generation who were “now wanting something different.”
Ujwal Nirgudkar, India’s SMPTE chair and Film Lab director, also took the audience through some of Indian cinema’s technical innovations on Sholay. And in another first, Nirgudkar revealed that the industry is currently working on a 3D version of this classic 1975 curry western.