Popular actor-director Sanjay Suri was recently in New Delhi at the grand finale of PVR Nest’s road safety campaign-CineArt Steer to Safety, an event which recognised short movies made by school children on road safety issues. Praising these movies, Suri said that though he personally does not like preachy films, cinema does instill a thought into the minds of people and starts a discourse which helps in sensitizing the people about various issues including those related to road safety. Excerpts from a conversation with OneWorld South Asia.
OneWorld South Asia: How can children be the best ambassadors for promoting awareness about road safety issues in India?
Sanjay Suri: Children are the future not just of India but of all the countries. The short films made by these children on road safety have been successful in sending the message loud and clear.
Therefore, I have a lot of hope in children. I think these young adults are going to teach their elders as to how important are the rules related to road safety which include even small issues like talking on mobile while driving, obeying the traffic lights and zigzag driving.
So, if children in this country are aware, the future is safe.
OWSA: Government efforts in educating people on the subject of road safety have not been able to bring the desired results. How do you think the role of cinema or film stars can make a difference?
Suri: Every medium has its power. Similarly cinema has its own power.
Cinema does not tell people what to do, but instills a thought into their minds. For example, after watching a movie people go back thinking about it.
Thus cinema helps in starting a dialogue or discourse and helps in sensitising the people. I personally don’t like preachy films, but if after watching a particular movie, I feel awakened or instigated, then I like that movie.
Popular faces from Bollywood can help in taking the message to a bigger number of people.
OWSA: Do you think rules related to road safety should be taught in schools more vigorously?
Suri: Absolutely, this subject should be taken vigorously in schools but there should be no examination on this. Workshops focusing on this subject should be more useful for children.
OWSA: Despite all kinds of luxury vehicles plying on Indian roads now, the attitude of the people towards road safety rules has not changed much. What according to you makes people indifferent to this immediate need?
Suri: See, the attitude of a person is not linked to finances. A person might not own a car but have a wrong attitude.
There is no difference between people owning a sports utility vehicle (SUV) or a bicycle if they have a wrong attitude.
OWSA: You said even cops have been seen flouting traffic rules. How important do you think is it to sensitise traffic police on this issue?
Suri: Generally, traffic police know their job and the rules. But, sometimes even they also don’t know how to spread the message related to road safety.
So, I feel that the short movies made by children for spreading traffic awareness should be screened for the cops too, especially for those who are on the field.