Friday October 18, 2019

How National Film Awards reflect India’s diversity in cinema

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By Shreya Upadhyaya

If there’s anything that has been constant for Hindi film actress Kangana Ranaut since 2013, apart from rumours, it is the appreciation for her performance in the critically acclaimed and commercially successful ‘Queen’. And this year’s National Film Award for the Best Actress was another feather to her hat. The Vikas Bahl-directed flick went on to win the Best Hindi Film as well.

Vishal Bharadwaj’s ‘Haider’, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, won the most awards – Best Music Direction, Best Dialogue, Best Male Playback Singer, Best Choreography and Best Costumes.

National Film Awards 2015 are a mix of popular cinema as well as films with a niche audience. Most of the narratives explore different genres and weave stories that reflect the changing Indian society.

Court’, a little known quadrilingual film, was adjudged the Best Feature Film. Directed by Chaitanya Tamhane, the movie depicts the “mundaneness of judicial procedure” and the “heart-wrenching insensitivity of institutional structures.” It was released in Hindi, English, Marathi and Gujarati last year and narrates the story of the trial of an ageing folk singer charged with abetting the suicide of a sewage worker, through his music.

While ‘Naanu Avanalla Avalu’ (Kannada) is a film on transgenders, ‘Ain’ (Malyalam) is a story set in a Muslim household, how one of its members happens to witness a murder and his escape thereafter. Kannada actor Vijay won the Best Actor Award for “his subtle and non-stereotypical” portrayal of a woman trapped in a man’s body for ‘Nanu Avanalla Avalu’.

Thriller ‘Chotushkone’ (Bengali) directed by Srijit Mukherji is a film about four directors coming together for a film with four different stories, all thematically connected by a common thread — death.

‘Kuttram Kadithal’ (Tamil) revolves around how one unexpected incident influences people from diverse lifestyles.  Bengali filmmaker Aditya Vikram Sengupta’s debut ‘Asha Jaoar Majhe’ is a story that unfolds two lives suspended amid the threat of an escalating recession.

Animation film ‘Sound of Joy’ tells the story of today’s kids, struggling with their aspirations and expectations and how they get inspired by stories of Biley (childhood name of Swami Vivekananda).

Shot in Orissa’s Rayagada district, ‘I cannot give you my forest’ is a film that explores and tries to spread the importance of forest food in the tribal culture. Its focus on such an integral and crucial environment issue has made it bag several prestigious awards globally.

‘Nachom-ia Kumpasar’ (Konkani) is based on the lives of two musicians and is narrated through over 20 popular Konkani songs from the 1960s and 1970s that have been re-recorded for this film. ‘Killa’ (Marathi) portrays the life of a young boy who has a hard time settling in his new countryside home after his father’s death in their previous city home. Several other films were awarded in different categories.

With filmmakers across the country daring to unveil, explore and narrate untold stories, forgotten accounts and ignored events, the National Film Awards always come in as confirmation of what India takes pride in – Unity in Diversity.

  • More than diversity, I think the award shows an underlying discontent and urgent need for change in the society. All the movies in some way or the other portrayal of breaking free from the stifling society.

    Our decadent government touting development and progress like some door to door salesman of substandard products, needs to learn something from this.

  • That’s a relevant point and another interesting perspective through which these films can be seen.

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  • More than diversity, I think the award shows an underlying discontent and urgent need for change in the society. All the movies in some way or the other portrayal of breaking free from the stifling society.

    Our decadent government touting development and progress like some door to door salesman of substandard products, needs to learn something from this.

  • That’s a relevant point and another interesting perspective through which these films can be seen.

Next Story

Kenya Bans Child Adoption By Foreign Nationals

A special Cabinet meeting at State House on Thursday also directed the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection to formulate a new policy document to regulate the adoption of children by foreign nationals in Kenya

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Kenya, Bans, Adoption, Foreigners, Court
The Cabinet has announced a ban on adoption of Kenyan children by foreigner.

BY GEOFFREY ISAYA

The Cabinet has banned with immediate effect adoption of Kenyan children by foreign nationals as the government moves to tame rogue adopters.

A special Cabinet meeting at State House on Thursday also directed the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection to formulate a new policy document to regulate the adoption of children by foreign nationals in Kenya, State House Spokesperson Kanze Dena said in a statement.

COURT BATTLES

There have been concerns over the existing loopholes in adoption laws of local children by foreigners with court battles rife on the same.

Most recently, an American couple, Daisy and her husband Matt, won a vicious adoption battle with the State over their procedure of adopting a Kenyan baby.

The baby was handed over to the couple on Wednesday after they were granted legal guardianship by the Nairobi’s Children Court in April 2017.

Kenya, Bans, Adoption, Foreigners, Court
an American couple, Daisy and her husband Matt, won a vicious adoption battle with the State over their procedure of adopting a Kenyan baby. VOA

The matter came to the limelight after detectives from Directorate of Criminal Investigations stormed the residence of the couple and forcefully took the baby away.

The police said the baby was found abandoned as a newborn along with another baby, believed to be his twin.

In August 2015, the High Court stopped two Swedish couples and a Danish couple from taking three Kenyan children out of the country, after it was discovered that the minors were not abandoned orphans but had families.

The couples had been living with the children in Nairobi for months as families of the children searched for their missing minors, only to discover they had been declared abandoned orphans and offered for adoption to the foreigners by local adoption agencies.

Following a review of the adoption process by the Technical Assessment of the Legal Provisions and Practices of Guardianship, Foster Care and Adoption of children by the Government of Kenya and UN children agency Unicef, an adoption moratorium on foreigners was placed by the government in December 2014.

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The review showed there were weaknesses in the legal process, which was subject to manipulation leading to commercialisation of adoptions.

Besides the moratorium, the government also revoked the licenses of adoption agencies. In 2015, the government appointed an expert committee to implement the objectives of the moratorium.

In 2017, the committee, in a report presented to President Kenyatta, recommended the freeze to be maintained and that all the Charitable Children’s Institutions (Homes) be closed down.

As a result, the government is not renewing the licenses for the children’s homes, nor licensing new ones.