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“Why Politicize The  National Awards?”

Subhash K . Jha

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A day after the  horrible  fiasco at  the National Film awards function in Delhi, Bengali director  Kaushik Ganguly  is still smarting under the  blow.

 More than his own  sense  of mortification and  disappointment Ganguly whose film Nagarkirtan won Best Actor (Riddhi Sen), Best Costume (Gobindo Mondol), Best Make-up Artist (Ram Rajak) and Special Jury award, feels  let down on    behalf of his team. “We were all there waiting in the lobby all dressed  up and excited about our film being honoured  by  the .Why weren’t we informed about the President’s inability to  personally give away the  awards  to all of us? You can’t  invite us for  the  President’s award and then inform us that the President is not going to able to give away the awards.”

 Kaushik  says he felt deeply  affronted on behalf of all the  awardees  who had  to turn away disappointed.  “Winning the National award is  a great achievement.And to receive  it from the hands of the President Of India  is the  other part  of  the  happiness that all the winners experience. We were robbed  of that  happiness.”

Kaushik feels the National awards were politicized when they were given away by Smriti Irani. “If not the President  the awards  should have been  given by the Vice-President. These positions are  beyond politics. But the moment you bring the  Minister Of Information  & Broadcasting  in to the picture you are politicizing the National film awards.And that’s a very disturbing thing to do.”

What  was  worse was the discrimination. “To say the President would be  available to give away a handful of the awards  and  not  the rest is  just not done. I’d have been less unhappy  if  Ms Smriti Irani was asked to give away all the awards. But to have the President’s consent to give away some  of  the awards  personally and not the rest  is just not acceptable  on  any  level.”

Kaushik could feel the President’s  absence in the pictures taken on stage. “It looked like he had been cropped  out of the photographs. The President has been an integral part  of the National awards functions. Every President  has stood there  for  three hours personally giving the award to every winner.Look at  the last President Pranab Mukherjee. He  would get tired standing , his feet and  hands would hurt, he’d take  a break and continue  giving out the awards  to the recipients right to the end. That’s what I’ve witnessed at all the National awards I’ve attended so far.That’s the protocol.”

 Would Kaushik boycott the National  Film awards  from now on?

“No, certainly not.  I’ve nothing against  the National film awards  just because of this one incident.However the next time, I’d like to be told beforehand  whom to expect the award from.”

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