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#Awardwapsi: Kundan Shah, Saeed Mirza, 22 others return National Awards

Bollywood filmmaker Kundan Shah has said that his National Award-winning film Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro may not be possible in ‘today’s atmosphere’.

bollywood Updated: Nov 05, 2015 18:05 IST
Hindustan Times
Kundan Shah,Return National Award,Dibakar Banerjee
Filmmaker Kundan Shah.(PTI)

Twenty-four more names from the film fraternity including noted filmmakers Kundan Shah, Saeed Mirza and writer Arundhati Roy today returned their National Awards in support of protesting FTII students and against the growing environment of intolerance in the country. The movement was kick-started by writers, who gave away their Sahitya Akademi awards in a symbolic show of protest against the growing disregard for freedom of speech and the murder of three intellectuals.

Soon scientists and many other filmmakers including Bollywood director Dibakar Banerjee and documentary maker Anand Patwardhan joined in the growing chorus against what they called government’s apathy in addressing these concerns. Shah, an FTII alumnae, said giving up his only National Award which he received for cult film Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro was a very sad but necessary decision to protest against the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the chairman of FTII.

Filmmakers, left to right, Kirti Nakhwa, Harshavardhan Kulkarni, Nishta 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)

Read: Dibakar is not right in returning the national award, says Khosla Ka Ghosla producer

“This is the only National Award I have for Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro and I feel very sad to part with it. I owe this award to my alma mater FTII- there would’ve been no JBDY if I had not studied at FTII,” Shah said. The director said before deciding to return their awards, they had raised the matter several times during the 139-day- long FTII strike but the government failed to listen.

Watch the Mahabharat scene from Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro

“Is Gajendra Chauhan the right choice? This appointment is an insult to our intelligence and standing by this choice is kind of a slap on the thinking populace of this country. I want to ask the bureaucrats at the broadcasting ministry, the minister of state Mr Rathore and Minister Arun Jaitley- what face can they show to their family, their children when they make and stand by such an appointment to a very prestigious institute?”

Mirza, a former chairman of FTII and known for his films like Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyoon Aata Hai and TV show Nukkad, said the protest started by the students has become bigger and the movement against “intolerance, divisiveness and hate”.

Reacting to the developments, director R Balkisaid, “It’s a protest from the industry, saying that we don’t believe in getting an award from a government or a country that thinks in a particular way. I applaud them (the filmmakers) tremendously for doing this. The only thing is that I hope the government gets the point, and suitably amends its strategy without ridiculing the intent of these filmmakers.”

First Published: Nov 05, 2015 09:13 IST