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|March 28, 2001||
'I feel sorry for the award winners'
D Jose in Trivandrum
A section of filmmakers in Kerala view the controversy surrounding this year's national film awards as another Tehelka episode.
"The cultural leaders have proved worse than politicians," says noted Malayalam filmmaker K P Kumaran, who has been associated with several juries at the State and National levels. He adds, "Manipulations have always been part of awards. But what marks the present awards is the naked way in which the Sangh Parivar has sought to corner glory."
Kumaran sees this as a continuation of the politicisation of awards in the country. What has surprised him is the envious success achieved by Kerala filmmakers in fitting into the saffron clicks even without the backing of powerful political leaders.
"Genuine filmmakers," he declares, "cannot expect honours either at the State or the Centre. They have to be part of political lobbies or groups to get their works recognised. If it was lotus in Delhi, it was a sickle and hammer in Kerala. The awards always get the colour of the ruling dispensation. This has been going on for more than three decades now."
According to him, the revolt by the three members of the jury for the National Awards on Tuesday, March 27, is a good sign: "Earlier, there was only a murmur of protests. The members who have resigned from the jury deserve kudos for the courage they have shown in disassociating themselves from blatant political decisions."
Kumaran believes that the colour of the awards was clear right from the jury formation stage itself: "One cannot expect anything better from a jury headed by a Bharatiya Janata Party MP."
What's more, he says that the genuine filmmakers in Kerala have been totally isolated with the lobbyists sharing the State and National awards: "The ones who missed the State Awards have got the National Awards."
The jury for the State Awards was packed with five non-Malayalam speaking members.
"They have obviously failed to understand a genuine Malayalam work," claims Lenin Rajendran, whose film Mazha vied for honours at both State and National Awards.
The 1996 National Award-winning director T V Chandran terms the National Awards the most shameful exercise in the history of film awards. "The members of the jury have said everything. There is nothing for individual filmmakers like us to react. I feel sorry for the award winners. They should bow their heads in shame," he added.
Chandran said he was feeling happy for not selecting his film for any award.
In the recent past, Malayalam films stole the show by winning seven awards in the feature film section and two in the non-feature category. Shantham, Sayanam, Kochu Kochu Santhoshangal and Gharaksharangal, which won honours at the National Awards never figured in the State Awards.
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