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Govt laxity cans movie firm

Bihar State Film Development and Finance Corporation peon Subhash Chandra Mishra sits dejected at the Indira Bhavan office. (Above) Broken chairs inside an empty room in the office. Pictures by Deepak Kumar

Bhojpuri movies have carved a niche and represented the state at international festivals, but alleged government laxity has rendered the Bihar State Film Development and Finance Corporation (BSFDFC) redundant for the past two decades.

If revived, the corporation, like many others, could turn into a veritable money-spinner. After all, Bihar State Road Transport Corporation, Bihar State Textbook Publication Corporation, Bihar State Educational Infrastructure Development Corporation, Bihar Police Building Construction Corporation, Bihar State Road Development Corporation and Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam are all registering profits these days.

When The Telegraph visited the BSFDFC office on the third floor of Indira Bhavan near Hartali Mor it found it in a dilapidated condition. The corporation, which came into existence in 1983, used to allot funds to filmmakers.

The office of the corporation resembled a storeroom with broken chairs, tables and other furniture piled up in a corner. Dust lay strewn on files and floors and defunct landline telephones from the 1980s had not been replaced.

Sources said senior officials seldom visit this office owing to its condition. There is no arrangement for water, as taps do not work. Broken toilet seats and washbasins complete the corporation’s tale of woes. At present, there are only six employees working with the organisation.

Subhash Chandra Mishra, a peon at the corporation since its inception, didn’t have words to express his sadness over the pitiable state of the office.

“The corporation used to allot money to filmmakers. However, from 1990, it began to crumble owing to government negligence. I work under daily wages, earning between Rs 100 and Rs 125. For seven years, the corporation worked properly. I don’t remember the names of movies, but Prakash Jha and Girish Ranjan had taken loans from this corporation to make their documentaries,” said Thakur (60), as he reminisces the past sitting on a broken chair at the corporation.

BSFDFC, under industries department, is perhaps the most neglected corporations in the state government. A senior industries department official said: “This corporation can do wonders if handled properly and can also make profit like the others. But the leaders are sceptical. How did it run successfully for several years and why was it closed for no reason? It started with Rs 2 lakh and was closed in 1990 when it was earning in crores. No state governments, be it under Lalu, Rabri Devi or Nitish Kumar, ever gave a thought to the corporation.”

Industries department minister Renu Kumari accepted that BSFDFC is a dead organisation. Renu said: “It is dead corporation and we are unable to do anything. However, it does not mean we are not serious about it. Very soon, I will hold a meeting on how to revamp this corporation.”

Film directors are, however, keen to extend their help to develop such corporations.

Deswa director Nitin Chandra, whose movie was selected for the Indian Panorama section at the International Film Festival of India, Goa, said: “Bihar’s pool of talent is being wasted because of negligence for the past two decades. We have to come together to revive the corporation. I am ready to extend all help as a filmmaker for BSFDFC’s resurrection.”