Tuesday, Dec 12, 2023

National Film Awards: 7 Times When The Prestigious Awards Were Embroiled In A Controversy

National Film Awards: 7 Times When The Prestigious Awards Were Embroiled In A Controversy

National Film Awards have always had to face some or the other controversy. Here are a few times when the controversy went a bit too big to cover up.

A Still From 'Black'
A Still From 'Black' Instagram

The National Film Awards were announced recently. While everyone considers the National Film Awards as the biggest and most unbiased film awards in the country, and still somehow every year the awards fall under some or the other controversy. Sometimes it’s an actor whose win isn’t considered worthy enough by all, and sometimes it’s a film that is said to be chosen by popular demand.

It’s true that everyone in a country of 1.4 billion people cannot be pleased. However, when the displeasure at an actor or a film’s win becomes a bit too much, a controversy starts erupting and people on social media start talking about the legitimacy and the unbiasedness of the awards.

Here are a few times when the National Film Awards have created a controversy that became a bit too big to handle:

Celebs Boycott As They Don’t Get The Award From The President

At the 65th National Film Awards, it was announced that not all the winners will be getting the award from the President of the country, which has been a norm at the awards right from its initiation. Only 11 selected winners would be getting the award from the President of India while the rest were to be getting the award from either the Information and Broadcasting Minister, Smriti Irani, or the Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore. Upset over this decision almost 55 winners decided to mark their protest by not coming in for the award ceremony and called it ‘discrimination’.

Akshay Kumar Wins Best Actor For ‘Rustom’

Akshay Kumar won the Best Actor for his film ‘Rustom’ which many sections of the society considered unworthy. People started commenting that there were far better performances by many actors not just in Bollywood, but even in the numerous regional film industries. The decision felt even more biased because one of Akshay Kumar’s closest friends and colleagues, Priyadarshan, was one of the jury members. To add fuel to the controversy, it was revealed that Akshay Kumar was a Canadian citizen at that time and didn’t even hold Indian citizenship. Which begged the question, why was he even selected? Since then, Akshay Kumar went on to apply for Indian citizenship and received it on Independence Day 2023.

‘Black’ Wins Best Film

At the 53rd National Film Awards, one of the jury members, Sahyamli Banerjee Dev took to court saying that the award ceremony was allegedly fixed. This arises from the fact that the film ‘Black’ was adapted from an English feature film called ‘The Miracle Worker’, and therefore it’s not an entirely original work. Thus, begging the legitimacy of it being nominated for the Best Film award. It was because of this court petition that the awards were not given out that year, and it was only given out the next year.

Saif Ali Khan Wins Best Actor For ‘Hum Tum’

Saif Ali Khan winning the Best Actor award for ‘Hum Tum’ was again not liked by many people. Audiences and many from the film fraternity felt that there were far better performances than Saif Ali Khan’s act in ‘Hum Tum’. To enrage audiences even further, reports started coming out that the decision for him to get the Best Actor award only happened because his mother, Sharmila Tagore, was then the chief of the censor board.

Ajay Devgn Wins Best Actor For ‘The Legend Of Bhagat Singh’

Ajay Devgn won the Best Actor award for playing Bhagat Singh in the film ‘The Legend Of Bhagat Singh’. However, the win was questioned by Adoor Gopalakrishnan, who felt that the decision was allegedly biased. The doubts arose from the fact that Ajay Devgn was shooting at that time for Prakash Jha, who was one of the jury members deciding the National Film Awards.

Kirron Kher Wins Best Actress Award For ‘Bariwali’

Kirron Kher won the Best Actress Award for the film ‘Bariwali’, which was produced by her husband Anupam Kher. However, it was alleged that the voice of Kirron Kher was dubbed by Rita Koiral in the Bengali film. Therefore, the award should have been equally received by both Kirron Kher and Rita Koiral. Post the win there were different things said. While one section said that Anupam Kher had offered to split the prize money, another section said that Kirron Kher has rigorously practised her dialogues and dialect in Bengali and got it perfect. It was said that till the day Rita Koiral passed away due to cancer, she nursed this wound of being stripped of a recognition that was allegedly hers.

Anil Kapoor And Raveena Tandon Win Best Actor And Best Actress For ‘Pukar’ And ‘Daman’

Anil Kapoor won the Best Actor Award for ‘Pukar’. Raveen Tandon won the Best Actress Award for ‘Daman’. However, a major controversy led to their selection which led to a few members of the jury even going ahead and resigning from their posts. It was alleged that there were discrepancies in the system. Pradip Kishen and a couple of other jury members quit the Feature Film Jury and alleged that the awards were a “cynical political cartel in the Jury bulldozed its way as it had pre-decided many of the awards.” There was also criticism about Raveena Tandon’s win as her uncle Macmohan was one of the jury members at that time.