Why Anupam Kher won’t return his National Awards

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Oct 29, 2015 11:21 IST
Indian Bollywood actor Anupam Kher poses for a photograph during a promotional event for Prem Ratan Dhan Payo in Mumbai on late October 1, 2015. (AFP)

Even as filmmakers came together in Mumbai to register their protest against ‘growing intolerance’ in the country, veteran actor Anupam Kher took to Twitter on Wednesday night to slam them. The actor also shared his own reasons for not returning the awards he has been honoured with.

Anupam Kher wrote in a series of tweets, “Some more usual suspects who never wanted @narendramodi to become PM in d first place have joined the #AwardWapsi gang. Jai Ho.:). Some of these usual suspects of #AwardWapsiGang were instrumental in getting me out of Censor Board d moment Congress came in Power. #Agenda.”

A screen grab of Anupam Kher’s Twitter timeline.

Replying to a tweet that asked him to return his National Awards, Anupam wrote, “I respect people who gave me awards. My protest is not based on hidden agendas.”

Anupam Kher has received two National Awards - one for his performance in Mahesh Bhatt’s Daddy (1989) and the other for Jahnu Barua’s Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Maara (2005). He was also honoured with Padma Shri in 2004.

Read: Filmmakers return national award, protest ‘growing intolerance’

Twelve fimmakers, including Dibakar Banerjee, Nishtha Jain and Harshvardhan Kulkarni returned their National Awards on Wednesday evening at a press conference where they also presented a letter addressed to the government. “Government of India must urgently reveal its commitment to protect the freedom of expression of each citizen. We, the undersigned, stand alongside the writers who have returned the country’s highest literary honour, and hereby return our National Awards. As filmmakers, we stand firmly with the students of FTII and are determined not to let them shoulder the entire burden of the protests. They have mounted a historic struggle and we urge others within our fraternity to come forward and carry this protest forward,” the letter said.

Filmmakers, left to right, Kirti Nakhwa, Harshavardhan Kulkarni, Nishtha Jain, Dibakar Banerjee, Anand Patwardhan and Paresh Kamdar at a press conference returning their National Awards in protest against the government over FTII students strike, in Mumbai on Wednesday. (PTI)

It was signed by Dibakar Banerjee, Anand Patwardhan, Nishtha Jain, Paresh Kamdar, Kirti Nakhwa, Hari Nair, Rakesh Sharma, Indraneel Lahiri, Lipika Singh Darai and Harshavardhan Kulkarni.

Ex-FTII students Vikrant Pawar and Pratik Vats also returned their awards. Vikrant Pawar received the National Award for Best Short Fiction, Best Direction and Best Cinematography in non-feature films category for Kaatal in 2013. Pratik Vats won the Rajat Kamal Award for Best Short Fiction in 2010 for Kal, 15 August, Dukan Band Rahegi.

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