The term of the appointment is three years. In his new role Puri will look out for new talent in filmmaking, examine scripts and consider production and co-production opportunities for the NFDC.
At a press conference in Mumbai, Puri talked about an initiative entitled Cooperatives, in which the NFDC will provide assistance in enlisting talent at a subsidised fee, depending on the needs of the script or film. If the film is successful, the profit will be shared between all those associated with the project.
The NFDC is also planning to attend Cannes with a line-up including Lucky Red Seeds (a co-production with Mirchi Movies), Via Darjeeling (with Moxie Entertainment) and a co-production with NDTV Imagine entitled The White Elephant (in pre-production). K M Madhusudhanan's Bioscope is completed while other projects are in various stages of scripting.
In the 1980s, Om Puri acted in a number of NFDC-produced/financed films such as Ardh Satya, Jaane Bhi Do Yaron, Mirch Masala and Bhavani Bhavai. 'NFDC has played a prominent and a pivotal role in moulding my career as an actor,' Puri said. 'NFDC has now bestowed me with this golden responsibility and opportunity to promote the cinemas of India and help in the development of the Indian film industry on a global platform.'
Among his priorities in the new role are encouraging and promoting young filmmakers and facilitating workshops on script-writing. The Information and Broadcasting Ministry is understood to have earmarked $7.5m (Rs300m) over five years for the promotion of new filmmaking talent.
NFDC managing director Nina Lath Gupta said: 'Om Puri has been associated with NFDC for a very long time as an actor, working in some path-breaking films from the production house. He is synonymous with what NFDC stands for, his loyalty and dedication towards meaningful cinema is what makes him the right person to chair this agency and drive it to its exponential growth.'