"India has to produce strong culture, not just entertainment... it's not just entertainment, it is a reflection of reality. This was my direction in my home country when I made my films," said Gitai.
He was speaking to a packed audience during a masterclass on the first day of the 19th Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) here.
Known for making documentaries and feature films like "Kadosh" and "Kippur" centred around the Middle East and Jewish-Arab conflict, Gitai felt thought provoking films are necessary.
"It's a way of creating bridges and reconciling people. We are not into politics in the first degree, but if we make people think, then it's a good thing."
He also stressed that the medium is not a "public relation medium" and preferred his spectators to be "interpreters and not consumers."
"Cinema is not public relation (PR) medium...only weak cultures need PR. Strong cultures like mine can be critical. For audiences like that even if they don't like it they will digest it."
Hailing the cinema-goers as "sensitive" to varied films, the auteur lauded Bengali films for carrying on the traditional approach.
"Bengali cinema is important. On the other side is Bollywood, but it's good to see Kolkata continue to make cinema in keeping with its tradition. I am sure it will rise up like it was in the past," added Gitai who spoke highly of Bengali icons Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak.
--IANS (Posted on 11-11-2013)