The decision of Dibakar Banerjee and other National Award winners to return their awards has irked the Censor Board chief Pahlaj Nihalani big time.
“Do they even know what they are doing?” he asks. “All these so-called champions of Indian cinema who make films showing Indians as gun-wielding criminals…they first got recognised by the government for making films that portray India and Indians in a very poor light. And now when these filmmakers are threatened, when their self-declared claim to being the champions of Indian cinema is fading away, they are trying to get renewed recognition by returning the recognition that they got from the government.”
Nihalani finds the hypocrisy of the exercise nauseating. “The National award that Dibakar has returned for Khosla Ka Ghosla belongs to the producer of the film. The producer has gone on record to state the award is not being returned by her,” he says.
“So, basically Dibakar is protesting with a gesture over which he has no claim. By the way, about the money that he got along with the award? Why didn’t he return it along with the trophy?”
Nihalani has accused the filmmakers for misusing the government platform just to stay in the news. And he blames them for misguiding the young. “These filmmakers who have not had a single success in recent times -- in fact the only success Dibakar Banerjee had was Khosla Ka Ghosla -- were misleading the students of the Film and Television Institute Of India (FTII).”
“All I want to tell them is please don’t try to stay in the news by attacking the very establishment that made you famous in the first place. The government should never honour films that show India to the outside world in a poor light. But having received the honour, these self-appointed radical filmmakers have no right to dishonour the honours that they’ve received,” added Nihalani.
In the picture: Anupam Kher in Khosla Ka Ghosla