New Delhi: Union Minister Arun Jaitley today said Indian cinema's reach in the western nations has made it a component of the country's "soft power" worldwide.
Jaitley, who was addressing the gathering at the 62nd National Film Awards here, said that Indian movies have found "increasing acceptance" on the international forum.
"Our cinema is also a component of our soft power internationally. We lead the world average in the number of movies produced each year.
Indian movies have found increasing acceptance at the international forum," he said.
"We all know there are simultaneous international releases of Hindi films happening now. Spread over the fruitful 100 years of Indian cinema, the saga has been that of a spirit of entrepreneurship," Jaitley added.
The minister hailed last year's releases 'Queen' and 'Mary Kom' for their women-centric themes and for striking a chord with the audience.
"The changing social mores and aspirations also found a voice in this medium. We witness the triumph of the spirit of liberation and empowerment of women-centric themes on the silver screen.
The success of movies such as 'Queen' and 'Mary Kom' are testimony to this. Social values have influenced our cinema and similarly our cinema has also had a great impact on our social values," he said.
As Indian cinema has come a long way, Jaitley also pointed out the increasing influence of technology in Indian films.
"The times to come would witness the disruption of the familiar paradigm due to rapid strides in technology and its increasing presence in the space of our daily lives," he said.
Jaitley said it was "heartening" to see Haryana and Bodo films entering the coveted list of National Award winners for the first time.
"It is heartening to learn that for the first time, a Haryana film and a film in the Rabha language from the Bodo region of Assam have won National Awards.
'PAGDI: The Honour' has not only won the best Haryanvi film but also the best supporting actor award for Baljinder Kaur," he said.
The minister noted that the non-feature category is "immensely important as it deals with interesting and critical subjects".
"The government has played its part in producing and showcasing them, thereby strengthening the documentary film movement," he said.
Jaitley also congratulated Dadasaheb Phalke winner Shashi Kapoor and child prodigy Uthara Unnikrishnan.