Thursday, Aug 21, 2003
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By N.J. Nair
In a letter to the Information and Broadcasting Secretary, Pawan Chopra, Mr. Karun, who has won many national and international honours, said the 20-member committee might become unwieldy and get divided on regional and other considerations. The size would dilute the responsibility to take crucial decisions. Hence, it should be reduced to 10, after including more professionals from the industry, he said.
Many of the jury members were not from the film fraternity and were not sufficiently experienced to hold such a position earlier. This led to confusion among the jury members. A jury comprising people who were not conversant with the art of film-making could not pass sound judgement on the works of master film-makers, he said.
During the past 50 years since its inception, the national film awards had gone through various transformations and the recent changes were a matter of concern to many members of the fraternity, Mr. Shaji said.
The mission of the national film awards now seemed to on giving recognition to the widest variety of films possible and not to identify and support excellence in Indian cinema. The effort during the past two years seemed to be aimed at distributing the awards evenly to films in all languages and categories. Such an equitable distribution would lead to dilution of standards and this would undermine the purpose of the awards, he said.
The spurt in awards instituted by private television channels and film publications had created confusion among the cineastes about the intellectual responsibility of a film-maker. The tendency to favour everyone might be convenient at present, but it would affect the international acceptance of Indian cinema in the long run due to a decline in standards. The increased recognition and exposure that films from developing nations such as Iran, Cuba, Korea, Argentina, Mexico, Thailand and China had gained over the past decade indicated how Government patronage could help indigenous films. The country would have to pay a heavy price for the dilution of standards as a weakened cultural identity would be projected internationally through Indian cinema.
The selection of films for awards and Indian Panorama was made by the same jury simultaneously. The Panorama selection should be done with a different perspective. Awards were for individual and technical excellence, while Panorama films were selected on the basis of overall excellence.
Panorama films were selected from those made from the month of August in the previous year to the current year, while the award selection was from the films made during the previous calendar year. Entrusting the jury with both the tasks during the past years had produced some undesirable results and hence the practice must be changed, the letter said.
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