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.”