Madhur Bhandarkar assails 'selective activism' of returning awards

Bollywood filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar on Thursday censured filmmakers who returned National Awards and honours to protest the "rising intolerance" in the country as 'selective activism', which he claimed won't do any good.

Madhur Bhandarkar
Madhur Bhandarkar

"Awards, particularly the National Awards, are a recognition of a filmmaker's talent and are given after seeing the potential of a film in raising awareness about issues concerning our society and our day-to-day lives", Bhandarkar said here.

He was here as part of a two-day film festival titled 'Kashmir Moving Images Festival', which began on Thursday in summer capital Srinagar.

"Many things have happened in our country, but in no way has such a situation arisen that people should return awards.

"Why didn't they (filmmakers) return awards on Kashmiri migrant Pandit issue, 1984 anti-Sikh riots issue, Bhopal gas tragedy issue...Why this selective activism now," asked the award winning filmmaker of movies like 'Chandni Bar' and 'Fashion'.

Many prominent writers, filmmakers and others have returned awards as a mark of protest against various issues. These include the murder of famed progressive thinker, M.M. Kalburgi, who was accused of derogating religion and was killed in August this year; and even the inaction of the government regarding demands of FTII students.

The award returnees say the government is doing little to curb the "growing intolerance" in the country.

"Returning awards isn't good and won't serve any purpose.

"What happened in Dadri can't be justified, but secularism isn't a one-way road. It is a two-way path, but there were so many issues in our country. Why didn't these people return awards then," Bhandarkar said in reference to the lynching of a man over beef-eating rumours in Uttar Pradesh.

Earlier, the Bollywood filmmaker met former state Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah here and said he felt ecstatic while meeting the humorous and witty Abdullah.

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