FTII protest: 10 filmmakers return National Awards
As the students of Film and Television Institute (FTII) called off their 139-day strike, 10 filmmakers including Dibakar Banejee and Anand Patwardhan, expressing solidarity with the students, on Wednesday returned their National awards.
The filmmakers were:
Dibakar Banejee, Anand Patwardhan, Paresh Kamdar, Nishtha Jain, Kirti Nakhwa, Harshavardhan Kulkarni, Hari Nair, Rakesh Sharma, Indraneel Lahiri, Lipika Singh Darai.
The Government of India must urgently reveal its committment to protect the freedom of expression of each citizen, a statement signed by these filmmakers read.
Announcing the decision at a press conference in Mumbai, Mr. Banerjee said, “I never thought I would return my award. I can say this, that if FTII’s ethos is protected and strengthened, then not only will I think of taking back my award but will hand out 10 other awards in joy.”
Mr. Banerjee also said the decision was not not politically motivated. “It is motivated by my conscience. I am returning this to try and raise attention of the people. If someone who watched my film and liked it, then he might watch this is in the press and say this guy is saying something. Maybe I should listen. He may also dismiss me. But this is what I can do and I am doing it.”
Veteran filmmaker Anand Patwardhan said: “I am more afraid today than I was during the Emergency because now there are roving gangs looking to do violence against anyone who speaks out. Our appeal is to the people, not the government. We want to be a part of the awakening that is happening around the country, like the scientists, artists and writers returning their awards.”
On returning her award, an FTII alumnus Nishtha Jain said, “National award is one of the few awards that are not corrupted and still hold up a high standards. Which is why this makes it painful.”
She added: “This is the beginning of my protest and not the end. We have to think of more clever ways of protesting.”
Government of India must urgently reveal its committment to protect the freedom of expression of each citizen.
We, the undersigned, stand alongside the writers who have returned the country’s highest literary honour, and hereby return our National Awards.
As filmmakers, we stand firmly with the students of FTII and are determined not to let them shoulder the entire burden of the protests. They have mounted a historic struggle and we urge others within our fraternity to come forward and carry this protest forward.
Khosla Ka Ghosla (2007)
Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye (2009)
Bombay Our City (1984)
Gulaabi Gang (2014)
Lost & Found (2008)
Lost & Found (2008)
Sham’s Vision (1997)
Final Solution (2006)
Aamar Katha, Story of Binodhini (2014)
Lipika Singh Darai
Eka Gachha Eka Mainsha Eka Samudra (a tree a man a sea) (2012)
Kankee O Saapo (dragonfly and snake) (2013)