Actor-filmmaker Nandita Das has just returned from Brisbane in Australia after attending the APSA FIAPF Award where she received an award for “outstanding achievement in film in the Asia Pacific region”
Nandita is all praise for Brisbane and the award. “It’s a lovely city with lovelier people! I was there for the 12th edition of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards, which is considered to be the Oscars of the region. It is supported by UNESCO, in an effort to promote and preserve various cultures through the powerful medium of cinema. The nominees automatically get inducted into the Asia Pacific Screen Academy, a growing world-class body of Asia Pacific filmmakers, that hosts the Awards. Eminent Australian actor, Jack Thompson, is the President of the Academy. It was truly an honour to have received the prestigiousAPSA FIAPF Award “for outstanding achievement in film in the Asia Pacific region”.”
Nandita says the trophy itself is exquisite. “The trophy itself, unlike most, is a piece of art. They call it their ‘signature glass vessel’ and it is specially designed by the artist Joanna Bone. While awards feel good in the moment, they have not played any significant role in my life decisions and joys. My conscience is what guides me and I have always pursued passions based my interests and convictions. However, this grand ceremony was so authentic and credible that I forgot all I had planned to say and instead shared my deepest feelings on stage.”
The recognition has touchd Nandita’s soul. “I felt that the award came to me at a time when I probably needed some encouragement – a validation of my life and work choices. Many have wondered why I do what I do and have viewed some of my choices as being wrong for my “career”. What may seem as my wandering is what has led me to tell stories that I feel need to be told. For 22 years, since I did my first film, I have battled many forces – sexism, orthodoxy, prejudice against independent cinema, and not to forget, trolls. So, this award has only strengthened my intent and made me realize the responsibility to keep fighting that comes with it.”
Significantly , Nawazuddin whom Nandita directed this year in the bio-pic Manto was also honoured at Brisbane.
Says Nandita, “What made this experience even sweeter is that Nawaz won the Best Actor Award for Manto. Unfortunately, he was shooting at the time in Nairobi, so I received the award on his behalf. I shared with the audience how was delighted I was that Nawaz was my Manto and how well-deserved this honour was for him. Among the cheering audience was SnehaKhanwalkar, the music composer for Manto, who herself was invited to be on APSA’s first-ever ‘Music in Film International Jury’. So many put in so much hard work not for financial gain but out of passion for the project. It was good to see our labour of love being appreciated.”