Saeed Mirza in new set of 24 artists to return national awards over FTII row, intolerance

But the government hit back saying it is an agenda against them

Written by Dipti Nagpaul | Mumbai | Published:November 6, 2015 1:07 am
Madhusree Dutta, Saeed Mirza, Kundan Shah, artists, BJP, BJP government, Narendra Modi, Narendra Modi government, Arundhati Roy, Saeed Mirza, FTII, FTII row, FTII crisis Madhusree Dutta, Saeed Mirza and Kundan Shah in Mumbai on Thursday. (Express Photo by: Prashant Nadkar)

Twenty-Four more filmmakers, writers, cinematographers among others have announced their decision to return their national awards to protest against “the threat to the academic culture at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII)” and “the horror at people being attacked and killed for their beliefs”.

The decision was announced at a press conference on Thursday. The list includes veteran filmmakers Saeed Mirza, Kundan Shah, writer Arundhati Roy, cinematographer Satya Rai Nagpaul, documentary filmmakers Madhushree Dutta, Sanjay Kak and Ajay Raina.

FTII row: artists return their national awards

Last week, 12 filmmakers, including Dibakar Banerjee and Anand Patwardhan, had made a similar announcement.

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“In response to the students’ call to the filmmaking fraternity, 12 of our colleagues lent strength to their protest by announcing their intention last week to return their national awards. Their gesture was a plea to the government, to take notice of the students’ demands and resolve the issue. It was also a protest against the growing intolerance in the country,” said a joint statement issued by the new group of filmmakers.

“We watched with disappointment how the ruling party’s leaders and supporters abused these filmmakers and belittled their gesture. This has been the consistent response of the powers that be, towards the writers, academics, scientists, filmmakers, historians and artists who have expressed their dismay over the increasing climate of intolerance. Rather than see our fellow filmmakers mocked, we have decided to stand with them and yet again bring public attention back to the manner in which the current government is responding to dissent and debate,” they said.

They, however, added that each of them had their own reason for returning the award. For instance, Mirza, who was FTII’s chairperson till Gajendra Chauhan’s appointment, blamed the previous regimes too. “The forces that lay in the shadows at the time of our independence have emerged into the sunlight. They are in power both at the overt and covert levels. Will my handing over a national award change things around? Frankly, I don’t know. All I know is I have to raise my voice against this state of affairs,” he said.

While expressing concern over FTII, most of them added that they were also concerned about a clampdown on any form of dissent.

Asked about the timing of their decision, amid questions on why they had not returned the awards after the anti-Sikh riots, Shah, known for his political satire Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro, said: “We made a mistake that we didn’t return the awards before. Do we have to repeat that mistake now and remain quiet?”

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  1. P
    Nov 5, 2015 at 7:19 pm
    Today all 24 are /Commie/Congis!!!
    1. R
      Nov 5, 2015 at 10:46 pm
      BharatK IS THE WORLDS OLDEST PROFESSIONAL. We all know what that means!
      1. A
        Nov 5, 2015 at 10:55 pm
        There is no intolerance. India is the fastest developing country among least developed countries. In fact the development is regressive which is very positive from a BRAHMIN POINT OF VIEW. All those who return the awards that they bought during congress regime. They did not return when 2G scandal or Sikh macre( see how we are supporting Sikhs to fool them) or EVEN ARRANGED GODRA MACRE. Then why are they returning now? -------I am ARUN JAITELY HE SKN OF A BRAHMIN SCNDRL.
        1. R
          Nov 6, 2015 at 7:19 am
          These people are upset that thier bosses are not in power. Now they are returning the favour. NDA should give the awards to the people from the industry and writers who are deserving and were ignored by the previous government. I am sure htere are many deserving writers directors and artists.
          1. Y
            Nov 5, 2015 at 5:25 pm
            Good! Have they returned the money as well? If not , why not? No one have heard of these so called"eminent filmmakers". They need a kick at their bakkside
            1. F
              Nov 6, 2015 at 3:36 am
              Did any of you pay heed to the inaccurate history taught to us?The pseudo-Marxists set the agenda for teaching Indian history in a sectarian manner. They teach us about Aristotle but not the seven valued logic of the Jains. They teach us that Pyhthagoras was a mathemetician, when he copied from Sulba Sutra. They teach us not what kind of epistemoliogy led to the discovery of mathematics. Years have gone by not the colonial indoctriantion has not. Their goal is to imitate the west , ignore all the unfinished research in Indian philosophy and revert to Abrahamic dogmas. " A landmark event in History" Well mr. Parthasarthy study some Nagarjuna and compare him to Aristotle, or to Kapila? Try to figure out why Brahmagupta discovered zero and eventually all modern mathematics. The role of Indian philosophy was crucial in the development of the new paradigm. Our intellectuals are brain washed by John Stuart mills' empericism and will deny any connection of philosohy to mathematics and science. BJP may not be doing things correctly but they are shaking the old mysthology, the self deprecating intellectuals. Let us have a philosophical debate. These intellectuals are too deep into Abrahamic paradigm to realize any alternatives. Aristotle said that there is no excluded middle so everyone to these fellows who does not buy into their McCaulyian analysis automatically a Hindutva fanati Are there any Muslimta fanatics or all progressives muslims
              1. I
                Idikkula Nair
                Nov 5, 2015 at 5:40 pm
                Incompetent Gajendra Chauhan needs to be removed and replaced by an eminent film maker.
                1. K
                  Nov 5, 2015 at 7:26 pm
                  We all know who these film makers are! So return the awards together with the amount they received it. At least the money can be used for better purpose than for these thugs' anti national activities. Growing beard and hair does not make someone intellectual at least ask them to spell what their contributions to the nation is except for poverty marketing.
                  1. A
                    Anuradha Kalhan
                    Nov 6, 2015 at 12:26 am
                    And what if this rising tide of intolerance was against malnutrition, poor quality public education, zero quality public health care , economic insecurity and homelessness? We could hand out a new set of awards for a rising tide of intolerance against deprivation and inequality! Otherwise this heroic stand against 'culture of intolerance' will be a poor band aid against cancer .
                    1. A
                      Nov 6, 2015 at 12:10 am
                      What will Anupam Kher do now. Is only one man right and rest of these talented folks returning awards wrong. Grow up moditards.
                      1. A
                        Nov 5, 2015 at 8:41 pm
                        First of all one must know as to why some students of FTII have been staying in Insute for 8 to 9 years without completing the THREE YEAR COURSE but interested in hunger strike and road shows .Therefore Modi Govt must form a SIT under the chairmanship of Sitting Judge of SC to find out the facts what is happening in film insute for last 10-15 years.It is also surprised to see 24 artists, including filmmaker Kundan Shah, have returned their national awards over FTII row when these students take much time to complete their course.It seems Modi Govt's development plan for India can be digested such people like Congress party.They received awards when Congress Party was in power.As such they want to show now graude to Party.However Aam Aadmi is not interested in such selfish people as they do it for publicity and least bother about burning questions of Poor People.They are all white collar people least bother about national interest before their drama/publicity.
                        1. A
                          aggrieved indian
                          Nov 5, 2015 at 10:24 pm
                          Why Khangress govt did not give Bharat Ratna to Major Dhyan Chand? But gave it within minutes to Sachin....tried to play vote bank politics.....for Maharashtra votes but got kicked out of state in both LS and ssembly
                          1. B
                            Babu Gupta
                            Nov 5, 2015 at 9:40 pm
                            I have reading all about FTII strike and affairs for last 3 months. I do not know what these guys are protesting for? Do they want officials in FTII of their own choice? FTII is a government undertaking and they are responsible financially for it, how can these guys think of managing the affairs their own way. Of course, I understand that most of these belong to secular (=anti Hindu) brigade, leftists and anti nationals dynasty sychophants who were given awards by Scamgress ? Khangress. Now they do not get any free bees, so this intolerance of their own and they are attributing it to whom, I still do not know.
                            1. S
                              Nov 5, 2015 at 5:41 pm
                              No problem. Hindustan do not need you all. As anti-Hindus, be happy and stay aside. It was better you turn in your pport and votingsright too. You all are of no use for Bharat. New generation will take over and make Hindustan more peaceful and progressive. Why have you not mentioned that the anti-Hindu Congressman at present President of India was instrumental in signing an agreement with Switserland in protecting "black-money" holders harming the interest of Bharat to step down?
                              1. R
                                Nov 6, 2015 at 5:06 pm
                                First, question is who are you people? I suppose its good you are returning your awards. You will get your 15 seconds of fame. Some people might even Google you and realize you exist.
                                1. R
                                  Nov 6, 2015 at 5:07 pm
                                  Yes, yes. BJP appointing head of FTII is not acceptable. No problem when CONgressmen appointed head of FTII for the last few decades, but BJP just not do it. Nothing hypocritical about you people at all. Tell you useless students to study and p instead of wasting the taxpayers' money.
                                  1. c
                                    Nov 5, 2015 at 8:51 pm
                                    The academy and other award giving insutes should ask them to return the money also. They should also amend the rule in future if anyone wants to return the award then they should also return the money with interest because they are making the fun of India and also these insutes.
                                    1. D
                                      Nov 5, 2015 at 5:33 pm
                                      These people are official agent of corrupt congress.
                                      1. G
                                        Nov 5, 2015 at 11:04 pm
                                        These left liberals who are giving up their (mostly given as patronage) awards are like the school playground bully. The moment someone stands up to their bullying they back down and run away. If they are such great artists why do they not perform/write as per their art to highlight their issues?
                                        1. V
                                          Nov 5, 2015 at 9:32 pm
                                          I wonder if these guys really know what the are doing. OK, I understand their fear, fear of becoming insignificant or microscopic, in a society that has seen through their bogus intellectualism. But do they really really know deep down that they are pushing the Hindus to a more strident path. Their self serving prophesy of Fuhrer may well be the outcome of this intolerance. Do they really know that they are digging the graves of the Left Marxist Mafia in India?
                                          1. N
                                            Nov 7, 2015 at 10:15 am
                                            Intolerance issue will vanish if you give PM post to Congress. So many incidents have happened in the past but no one from this group have returned their award. Now since Chatta Rajan has been arrested once again another sets of artists will start returning the award. If BJP wins Bihar election, there will many more who will return the award.
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