Earlier this week, the 89th Academy Awards paid a tribute to late Indian actor, Om Puri, who passed away earlier this year. Soon after, actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui took to Twitter to slam popular award functions for not honouring their own talent. HT talks to the actor about his viral tweet and his opinion on the award functions in India.
What made you tweet such a strong opinion?
After Omji’s death, whichever award function happened, his name wasn’t even mentioned. Though I must admit that I don’t know how many of them took place (after Puri’s demise). As an actor, you feel bad because he was a legend, who made a huge contribution to not only Indian but also world cinema, if not more. As they say, ‘two words’ could have been spoken about him as a tribute.
So, your grouse is against award functions only…
Yes, that’s true. In fact, I want to clarify that my emphasis is only on popular award functions and not the country or the film industry. They (popular award shows) have become very shallow. Sometimes, I feel that they should shut down.
Other actors too have hit out at award functions in the past…
If these award functions continue to have such an attitude, it will become shameful for good actors to attend them, because there’s no seriousness attached to them. If they were serious award functions or maintained a certain gravitas about art, especially cinema, they would have paid tribute to Omji.
But you hardly attend popular award functions?
Yes, I don’t. In fact, I have requested them not to nominate me in any of their categories. I get irritated if I get nominated.
What do you think has gone wrong with award functions?
They have lost their seriousness and credibility. Not just me, everyone has now started saying the same thing. It would be better if they shut down such functions and have a song-and-dance evening to create an episode (for TV) where all the celebrities also converge. But let’s not call them award functions because awards are supposed to be prestigious. Upcoming actors and even general public look up to them. But actually, no one is bothered about them now and nobody even remembers who all got the awards last year.
Lastly, you have always said how Puri influenced you a lot…
Why just me? He inspired lakhs of actors like me.