"There are not enough films for children. There are not enough cinema halls also which patronize children films or release children films. I think probably because of the commercial side of it. I think it should have been made possible," he said. (Agencies)
Gulzar was here to participate in the 18th International Children's Film Festival of India (ICFFI), which commenced on Thursday and concludes on November 20.
He recalled that earlier more children's shows used to be screened, especially morning shows, and that some of the corporates had patronized it too.
"And if that demand had remained, there would have been more productions, there would have been more supply," he said.
Regretting that over 300 films were lying with Children's Film Society (CFSI) without a regular theatre release though they are shown in festivals, he said the society at large, including corporates and schools, can patronize such films.
Noting that Jaya Bachchan had tried to expand the activity of children's films to states during her tenure as Chairperson of CFSI, he said such efforts would have yielded results.
"But I think somewhere as a society we lacked commitment towards children. As a result, there is no literature, no performing arts, no cinema for children," he lamented.
Gulzar said every state should have a children's film centre and take it as a commitment to the cause. “It may be affiliated to the Central Film Society but every state should have a society. Theatres should also be made available. You cannot leave everything to government. As a society also, you should move forward. You can ask the government what you want," he said.
Appreciating that International Children's Film Festival is organized in the country every alternate year, Gulzar said there should be more of it.
Replying to a query, he said children's writing has come down in different Indian languages. The art is much more challenging as it is highly specialized, he said. He, however, did not agree that children's writing came down because of any decline in reading habit.
There is no decline in books and that publications in India, be it newspapers, magazine or books, are on the rise, he said.
Asserting that many positive things are also happening in the fields of arts, he cited the examples of literary festivals being organized in different states in the country.
Replying to a query, he felt that the themes and subjects of children's writing also need to change in tune with the times. "We are moving towards Mars. This is a brilliant generation. I learn from my grand-children. I don't want to impose my times on them," he said.
"There are not enough films for children. There are not enough cinema halls also which patronize children films or release children films. I think probably because of the commercial side of it. I think it should have been made possible," he said.