YESTERDAY marked the establishment of the first ever Chair of Indian Cinema/Film Production in honour of legendary film producer Dadasaheb Phalke who is considered the father of Indian Cinema.
This after a memorandum of agreement (MOA), signed in 2010 was renewed for a five-year term between the government of India and Fiji National University (FNU).
Present at the ceremony was the first holder of the Dadasaheb Phalke chair, Professor Subhankar Ghosh, who joined FNU this year.
He will be part of the teaching and production staff of the FNU's Department of Film, Media and Journalism, which already has a well-equipped studio.
Indian High Commissioner to Fiji Vinod Kumar said it was the first chair in Indian cinema and film production to be established anywhere in the world.
"Establishing an Indian Chair was a big achievement considering students from across the Pacific region will study at FNU and will benefit," Mr Kumar said.
FNU Vice Chancellor Doctor Ganesh Chand said the university was delighted to have strengthened the bond with the government of India with the renewal of the MOA.
"Fiji's love for films is decades old but the makers have been from outside," said Dr Chand.
"We lacked the technology and the human resources to develop the industry but that is now changing," he said.
He said the MOA would not only benefit the university but the whole nation by stimulating interest in film-making in Fiji and the region.
Prof Ghosh said it was a very solemn moment for him to hold the great Dadasaheb Phalke chair.
"The responsibilities and the expectations with me are high and I will try my very best to meet it," said Prof Ghosh.
He said incentives were welcomed but the talent should be nurtured and that was the foresight of the university.
"I have come here with the same desire, to do the most I can for the students who are of top priority for me and for that I request the help of my seniors here, and then we will certainly succeed. I will do my best to create the infrastructure for films needed here in Fiji."
Fiji Films chief executive officer Florence Swamy said this was good news for the industry at large.
"Prof Ghosh has brought with him a lot of expertise and that means quality teaching, thus higher level of skills that is needed," said Ms Swamy.
"The International Film Commission will now be able to find a pool of skilled individuals here and not just a great destination," she said.