Bureaucrats don’t let Dasmunsi keep National Awards promise

June 12th, 2008 - 7:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, June 12 (IANS) Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi had announced at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) last November that movies of both 2006 and 2007 would be considered for the 54th National Awards. However, last year’s films will have to wait for recognition due to the alleged apathy of bureaucrats. The National Awards for movies released in 2006 were announced in New Delhi Tuesday, while the awards for films of 2007 were postponed by a year.

According to an official of the Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF), the delay is due to the lackadaisical attitude of the information and broadcasting ministry officials.

“In spite of the minister’s public announcement that the National Awards for 2006 and 2007 would be given simultaneously this year, the officials showed no sense of urgency or respect for the minister’s commitment. They failed to take the necessary steps,” the official told IANS on condition of anonymity.

The two-year delay in awarding the best of Indian movies has robbed much of the sheen of this prestigious award, dismaying some in the film industry.

“It is as if the government is performing a perfunctory role by awarding films two years late just so as to continue with the tradition of the National Awards. It is not a very happy situation,” said movie director Vinod Pande, who is also president of the Indian Television and Film Directors’ Association.

However, Govind Nihalani said that the government cannot be solely blamed for the delay.

“One must understand the predicament the government faced in 2005 after some filmmakers and a member of a National Awards jury filed a case against the jury over the selection of films.

“The National Awards are still as prestigious as ever. An award, after all, is recognition of one’s talent in any given field. Awarding someone belatedly makes no impact on the recognition,” Nihalani said.

“Just as the Bharat Ratna, sometimes given posthumously to prominent Indians, does not take away from the person’s eminence, so a National Award given belatedly to a film does not rob the glory associated with it,” he added.

Dilip Prabhavalkar, who bagged two National Awards this year for his roles in “Lage Raho Munnabhai” and Marathi movie “Shevri”, said he felt triumphant when a jury comprising eminent personalities from across the country selected him for the awards.

“The National Award, after all, is a national recognition - an honour no other awards can vie with,” Prabhavalkar said.

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