The Karnataka government has decided to withdraw the State film awards announced for the year 2010-11 following the row over selection of films. It is likely to constitute a new committee for selecting films afresh.
The decision comes in the backdrop of the Karnataka High Court granting time till August 5 to the government to inform why the controversy over selection of films should not be handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Sources in the Department of Information told the The Hindu that it was inevitable for the government because it was in a “helpless situation” and there was no other way other than withdrawing the award and constituting a new committee. The decision of the government would be communicated to the court through the Additional Advocate General.
For the first time in the 78-year-old Kannada cinema, State film awards, selected by a committee of experts and announced by the Chief Minister, are being withdrawn following a legal tangle. The main contention in the litigation is that some of the members of the committee were either directly or indirectly linked with some movies that were either considered or selected for the awards.
The awards, selected by an expert committee headed by Bharati Vishnuvardhan, were questioned by actress-director Priya Hassan and producer Basanth Kumar Patil.
Both alleged that the norms for selection of films for awards were violated. Besides extending the deadline for submission of films, three of the jury members had worked in the films that were in the race for the awards. Ashok Kashyap was the cinematographer for Super starring Upendra which got the first best film award.
If the film awards for 2010-11 are withdrawn, many film personalities, including Puneet Rajkumar and Minister for Housing M.H. Ambareesh among others would lose their awards.
Considering the recent controversy surrounding film awards and subsidy being given by the State government to films, the government would take enough care while formulating selection committees in future.