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Delhi HC stays National Films Awards


Posted: May 09, 2007 at 1953 hrs IST

The controversy over the National Film Awards reached the Delhi High Court, which virtually stayed the scheduled announcement of some of the honours.

Issuing notice to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, Justice Kailash Gambhir said the government would not announce the awards until it considered representations submitted by Shyamli Banerjee Deb raising objections pertaining to certain films.

The court asked the Ministry to file its reply by July 26, the next date of hearing of the matter.

Deb has challenged the decision of the Directorate of Film Festivals to give the award for Best Film to Black, Best Debut Director to Parineeta, Best Actress to Parzania, Best Screenplay to Apaharan and Best Special Effects to Tamil film Anniyan.

Disparities were evident in the way films were chosen for different catogories of awards. The films that were dropped in the preliminary round were forcibly chosen for awards on the final day of deliberations, Deb alleged in her petition.

She contended that the jury has to select films of aesthetic and technical excellence and social relevance that contribute to the understanding and appreciation of the culture of different regions of the country and promote integration and unity.

But in the case of the 53rd National Film Awards, these aspects were not taken into consideration since everything was pre-planned, she alleged.

Deb also contended that officials of the Directorate of Film Festivals were not entitled to intervene in the deliberations, except to provide information if necessary.

They should serve only as observers of the total process, she said.

But in case the case of the current National Awards, Deb accused two officials of the Directorate--Shankar Mohan and Manoj Srivastava--of conducting the whole process.

Citing the examples of Anniyan and Apaharan, she claimed they were nowhere in the primary list.

She also voiced her objection to the selection of Black as the Best Film, saying it was an adaptation of a 1962 English movie called The Miracle Worker. In the application for Awards, a filmmaker has to certify that his movie is not a revised or dubbed version of another film, she pointed out.

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