No National Award for Tamil Films, industry blames absence of regional members in jury
There is heartburn in Kollywood that not a single Tamil film has been picked at the 66th National Film Awards for the year 2018 in any category and it is being seen as discriminating against Tamil language and its movie industry.Updated: Aug 16, 2019 12:26 IST
There is heartburn in Kollywood that not a single Tamil film has been picked at the 66th National Film Awards for the year 2018 in any category and it is being seen as discriminating against Tamil language and its movie industry. This is the first time in 26 years that the Tamil film industry could not find an entry in the awards list. The last time it was left out was in 1992.
Many filmmakers and industry doyens say that they have been in shock since some of the best movies, celebrated both by reviewers and the audience alike, have not been considered. Award-winning veteran filmmaker Bharathiraja gave vent to his anguish at a film festival in Chennai on Wednesday.
“None of these movies: Mammooty-Ram’s Tamil movie Peranbu, Vetrimaran-Dhanush’s Vada Chennai, Mari Selvaraj – Kathir’s Pariyerum Perumal, Lenin Bharathi’s Merku Thodarchi Malai, and Vijay Sethupathi’s 96 – were selected. At the very first step of selection, they were discarded by the regional jury. It would not reach the central panel. Absence of Tamilians among the juries in the selection committee is the main reason for this. There seem to be some factors which are restricting our filmmakers from becoming part of the selection committee. If things continue like this, there certainly would more backlash,” said Bharathiraja.
Filmmaker Vasantha Balan, whose film ‘Veyil’ which received a national award in 2006, also lashed out at Tamil cinema being ignored in such a cavalier manner.
“Despite a dozen movies of high quality and standard, taking Indian cinema to another level, having been released in the Tamil language, none has entered the awards list. This is an injustice to Tamil cinema,” said Vasantha Balan.
Meanwhile, award winning actor Vaagai Chandrasekar, a DMK MLA, has also expressed his displeasure. “The dimension of Tamil Cinema has changed a lot in the last five years. While Tamil Cinema is growing to the next level, snubbing it without a national award will hurt Tamil filmmakers and fans,” he pointed out.
Popular Tamil Lyricist Yugabharati appears to be resigned to the fate, lamenting that no award would be given to Tamil film industry for the next five years.
“No national award has been given to Tamil cinema this time. I guess no awards will be given to Kollywood in the next five years too. It is inappropriate for top stars to make comparisons to find who is Arjuna and who is Krishna. They should come out against this insult,” Yuga Bharathi, said referring to Tamil Super Star Rajinikanth whose blockbuster ‘Petta’ too having failed to win a national award.
The DMK legislator further urged the NFA committee to set up language-wise juries to select the best regional films. “When I got a national award in 2002, it was Antony; a jury member from Kerala who had recommended my name for best supporting actor,” Chandrasekar noted.
However, actor and BJP sympathiser S Vee Shekar has a different take on this issue saying that a film satisfying the local audience may fail to attract the jury at the regional and central level.
“We cannot blame someone for not receiving awards. A film could be the best one in the state. However, juries may have a different opinion on it,” explained Shekar.
Baaram the only Tamil movie which has won an award for the best Tamil film. This is not being accepted by the Tamil industry as the movie has not been released or seen on a single screen apart from doing the film festival circuits.
According to Dhananjayan Govind, a film writer and producer, non representation of Tamils on the central panel of juries is the reason for Tamil movies being ignored.
“In the 11 member central panel, there is no representation to Tamil Nadu. It was packed with Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam and other language jury members,” he noted.
Tamil Superstar Rajinikanth also joined the growing chorus in expressing disappointment that no Tamil movie was selected for any of the recently announced national film awards.
“It is a disappointment to me since Tamil movies were not selected for National Film Awards. It is up to the juries and they have to clarify why Tamil movies failed to get a national award this time.”
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