24 filmmakers return national awards over ‘growing intolerance’

New Delhi: Noted author Arundhati Roy and 24 filmmakers returned their National Awards on Thursday to protest against “growing intolerance” in the country even as veteran actor and BJP supporter Anupam Kher invited all Indians to march with him to Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Friday.

Arundhati Roy on Thursday said she was returning her 1989 National Award for Best Screenplay to protest against “ideological viciousness” in the country.

“I am very pleased to have found (from somewhere way back in my past) a National Award that I can return, because it allows me to be a part of a political movement initiated by writers, filmmakers and academics in this country who have risen up against a kind of ideological viciousness and an assault on our collective IQ that will tear us apart and bury us very deep if we do not stand up to it now,” Roy said in an article published in The Indian Express.

The winner of the Booker Prize for her book ‘The God of Small Things’, Roy won the national award for the film ‘In Which Annie Gives it Those Ones’.

Kundan Shah, the maker of the iconic film ‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron’, and Saeed Mirza, were among the filmmakers who returned their National Awards on Thursday.

“Not to speak out would be a crime. We are speaking out to reclaim the soul and spirit of this land,” Saeed Mirza said.

“We are not against the BJP, we have protested against the Congress too,” said Mr Shah.

Filmmaker Kundan Shah has announced that he will return the National Award that he received for the iconic 1983 film Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron.

Meanwhile, Anupam shared on his Twitter page, “#MarchForIndia will start from India Gate, New Delhi at 10 a.m. on November 7. All INDIANS are invited. Jai Ho. 🙂 #IndiaIsTolerant,” .

The actor will be joined by a string of artistes, writers and painters for the march.

(With inputs from IANS)