Noted filmmaker Dibakar Banerjee, who has returned his National Award in protest against the ongoing Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) row, on Friday said that veteran actor Anupam Kher has every right to be unhappy with his decision as it was not meant to make anyone happy.
“It’s not a happy thing. I have not returned my award to make anyone happy. I will question the sanity of any person who feels happy at this. Protest is not a happy thing. Protest makes you uncomfortable. Since I can’t go on streets and shout, I am returning my award. Those who are unhappy with it have full right to be unhappy, it was not meant to make anyone happy,” said Banerjee.
He also said that returning the award was an emotional decision, adding that he did a lot of souls searching before arriving at the decision. “Tolerance does not mean that I have to agree with you, it means that when I disagree with you I am still tolerated,” he said.
Kher had on October 29 lashed out at Banerjee for returning his National Award for the movie Khosla ka Ghosla, saying that he had got the award because of the collective efforts of the actors in the film. “Dibakar Banerjee got national award for ‘Khosla Ka Ghosla’, alongwith me, Ranvir Shorey and many others gave our blood to that film. He has no business to return that award without asking us because he got that award also because of us,” Kher had said.
Kher, who had criticised the filmmakers returning their awards to protest “rising intolerance” in the country, is set to lead a tolerance debate march to the President’s house tomorrow to counter it. The announcement came two days after Congress president Sonia Gandhi led a protest march against the ‘rising intolerance in the country’ to the Rashtrapati Bhawan and submitted a memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee.