More film-makers return awards

Mumbai: Screenwriter Saeed Akhtar Mirza with director and writer Kundan Shah during a press conference announcing to return their awards in Mumbai on Thursday. PTI Photo by Shashank Parade(PTI11_5_2015_000291A)   | Photo Credit: PTI

In a boost to the ‘award wapsi’ movement, film-makers Kundan Shah and Saeed Mirza were among two dozen artists who returned national awards on Thursday.

Mr. Shah, an alumnus of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), felt it was necessary to protest the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as FTII chairman.

Kundan Shah sees larger plot to ‘take over culture’

Kundan Shah and Saeed Mirza, were among 24 members of the film fraternity, returning their national awards on Thursday, registering their protest against increasing intolerance on the part of the Government to listen to the voices of the people, including students and members of various communities..

Mr. Shah, an alumnus of the Film Technology Institute of India (FTII) and director of the cult film Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro, said he was sad to be giving up his national award, but said he had to do it to protest the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as FTII chairman.

“This is the only National Award I have for Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro and I feel very sad to part with it. I owe this award to my alma mater FTII; there would have been no JBDY if I had not studied at FTII,” he said at a press conference in Mumbai.

The director said that before deciding to return their awards, members of the film fraternity had raised the matter several times during the 139-day strike by the FTII students, but the government failed to listen.

“Is Gajendra Chauhan the right choice? This appointment is an insult to our intelligence and standing by this choice is kind of a slap on the thinking populace of this country,” Mr. Shah said. “Forcing ideology on FTII students is part of a larger idea to take over culture,” he added.

Mr. Mirza, chairperson of the FTII governing council from 2013-2014 and director of films like Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyoon Aata Hai and the TV show Nukkad, said the protest by FTII students had become a bigger movement against intolerance, divisiveness and the interference of the government in culture and education.

“When FTII students rose up against the ad-hoc and arrogant imposition of the governing council members by the government of India, little did they realise that the cause for which they were fighting would turn out to be so much larger,” Mr. Mirza said.

Arundhati Roy among protesters

The list also includes writer Arundhati Roy, who received the award for the best screenplay in 1988, and stalwarts like Ajay Raina, cinematographers Ranjan Palit and Manoj Lobo.

Activist-film makers like Tapan Bose, Sanjay Kak, Madhusree Dutta and Pradip Krishen also featured in the list.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 9:31:39 AM |

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