While 70 of the National award winners threatened to boycott the National film awards ceremony in Delhi on Thursday evening, 19-year Bengali actor Riddhi Sen who won the Best Actor award for his performance in the film Nargakirtan says it was wrongly reported that he would also boycott the awards to show solidarity with the others.
Says Riddhi, “When I got to know that 70 of the winners were boycotting the function in protest(because the President agreed to give the award only to a bunch of the winners) I did contemplate boycotting the function too. But my director Kaushik Ganguly(who had won a National award and was one the protesters) insisted I must collect my award since I was one of the handful of winners who the President had chosen to give the award to.Not accepting the award from the President would have amounted to belittling the award and the President.”
However Riddhi agrees this discriminatory method of giving out the awards was embarrassing. “If the President was unable to honour all the winners he should have not honoured anyone. By giving the award to some and not to the majority it can seem discriminatory and I completely empathize with those winners who decided to stay away in protest.”
However Riddhi is quick to point out that being selected for a National award is an honour in itself. “Look at the distinguished jury of filmmakers and critics who selected an the awardees. They are such formidable names. That they though all of us to be worthy of this honour is recognition in itself. Having said this, I agree it is a break in a 65-year old protocol for the President to not personally give the award to every winner. Though I’m too young to voice an opinion on a matter as crucial as this, I must say it would have been far better if Ms Smriti Irani had given the awards to all of us. I’d have been equally happy to receive the my best actor award from Ms Irani.”
However this declaration of solidarity with the protesters does not take away from Riddhi’s moment of glory. “To have won the National award for best actor when I am still in my teens, to be in Delhi with my proud parents to receive the honour from the President, is a golden-letter day for me.”
“I only wish the importance of this day was not dimmed by the unfortunate controversy,” sighs Riddhi .