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Mixed response in Bengal to filmmakers returning awards

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Kolkata: The move by filmmaker Dibakar Banerjee and several others to return various government awards and honours they have received, as a mark of protest against impediments to freedom of speech and expression, has evoked a mixed response from others in West Bengal.

Actress Sudipta Chakrabarti, who won the National Award for Best Supporting Actress for ‘Bariwali‘, likened the honours as “weapons” for filmmakers, but said she is not considering a similar stand at the moment.

“I am not thinking of returning the award at this moment, but if there is a collective effort, then I will support it,” she said.

Shabdo’ director Kaushik Ganguly feels that protesting through his own medium (making a film) is much more significant for him.

“I respect the filmmakers’ decision to return the awards. But others may have different ways of agitating. I may use films or writing as the way to protest,” he said.

Singer Rupankar Bagchi, who bagged the National Award for Best Male Playback Singer for the song ‘E Tumi Kemon Tumi’ from ‘Jaatishwar’, questioned the decision.

“Is returning the award a form of protest? I do not think so,” he said.

Earlier, poet Mandakranta Sen gave back her Sahitya Akademi Award.

The filmmakers who returned the awards on Wednesday are Anand Patwardhan, Dipankar Banerjee, Paresh Kamdar, Nishtha Jain, Kirti Nakhwa, Harshavardhan Kulkarni, Hari Nair, Rakesh Sharma, Indraneel Lahiri and Lipika Singh Darai.

The filmmakers expressed solidarity with the agitating FTII students in Pune.

The development came on Wednesday, hours after three prominent alumni of the Film and Television Institute of India announced that they would return their national awards to protest “an atmosphere of intolerance” in the country in the last few months.

(IANS)

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Always Backed Filmmakers Doing Clutter-Breaking Work: Ayushmann Khurrana

"It motivates me to do better work, to scout for better scripts and to be disruptive yet entertaining."

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Ayushmann Khurrana
Ayushmann Khurrana. (Wikimedia Commons)

His choice of off-beat films with dollops of entertainment has led Ayushmann Khurrana career to be on a roll with the success of “Bareilly Ki Barfi”, “Shubh Mangal Saavdhan”, “Andhadhun” and now “Badhaai Ho” back-to-back.

“Badhaai Ho”, which released on Thursday, collected Rs 7.29 crore on Day 1 at the Indian box office, barring the Madhya Pradesh market where theatres are on strike, according to the film’s makers.

The opening day figure is said to be the biggest in Ayushmann’s career.

“It is an overwhelming and a humbling moment for me as an actor. As an artiste, I have always backed concepts, filmmakers who were doing clutter breaking work. I think I have been lucky enough in my journey to have got the right films and I’m thankful to all my filmmakers for believing in me,” Ayushmann said in a statement.

Ayushmann, in a very short period of time, has become the poster boy of content films that do exceptionally well at the box office.

Ayushmann Khurrana
Ayushmann Khurrana. (Wikimedia Commons)

His acting career began with a film like “Vicky Donor”, which explored the concept of sperm donation in a very convincing and entertaining way. With his recent projects, he has become a poster boy of content-driven films which have fetched good results at the box office.

The actor said: “If a film is not watched and enjoyed and endorsed by audience, it is not a success. So, the rules don’t change even if it’s a content film. Whenever I get a script in my hand, I think from the position of whether I would want to watch this film as an audience.

“I always go with my instinct and my reading of audience. So far and thankfully, more often than not, I have got the right answers. This reward is extremely gratifying for me because it teaches me that I’m choosing the right films.”

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As “Badhaai Ho” — a film about a man whose mother becomes pregnant — is well on its way to become the fourth back-to-back success for Ayushmann, he said: “It is truly rare to receive so much love. As an artiste, you only want to entertain people. So, this appreciation is extremely moving and empowering.

“It motivates me to do better work, to scout for better scripts and to be disruptive yet entertaining.” (IANS)