Sunday October 21, 2018

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.

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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.

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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

Amazon’s Alexa Can Now Learn Hindi And Other Indian Languages

Apart from Hindi, using "Cleo" customers can respond to Alexa's English statements in Tamil, Marathi, Kannada, Bengali, Telugu, Gujarati and other Indian languages.

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Amazon,com. Flickr
Amazon.com, Flickr

Amazon on Tuesday launched a new category of Alexa skills that would enable customers in India help Alexa learn Hindi and other Indian languages.

Using the new “Cleo” skill, Amazon allows users to teach Alexa more about Indian languages and culture by interacting with the voice assistant.

“During each round, Alexa will ask you to say at least five things in your language. She may ask you to say something specific in the chosen language or to just say anything at all,” the company said in a statement.

Amazon Alexa. Flickr
Amazon Alexa. Flickr

The process of creating new languages for Alexa benefits data availability, computing power and machine learning, in which systems improve organically as they incorporate more data.

Cleo’s availability in India will help improve Alexa’s language model and help her to gradually speak in local languages, the company added.

Also Read: Amazon India, HackerEarth partner for Alexa Hackathon

These skills can be accessed on all Amazon Echo devices as well as the free Alexa app for smartphones.

Apart from Hindi, using “Cleo” customers can respond to Alexa’s English statements in Tamil, Marathi, Kannada, Bengali, Telugu, Gujarati and other Indian languages. (IANS)