National awards are deemed prestigious and extremely coveted perhaps a milestone accomplished by its recipients, however taking a look at the recent times, national awards seem to loose its sheen for merit takes a back seat over raging ‘Favouritism’ and political pressures. Akshay kumar’s win as the best actor for Rustom comes under scrutiny, a string of controversies and fire from many industry professionals, critics as well as the audience who are questioning the decision of the jury. It is also said to believe that Priyadarshan who headed the jury member might have taken a call on this decision to declare his dear actor with whom he has collaborated several times in films like Phir hera pheri.
However, Priyadarshan firmly defends his decision refuting allegations calling his decision completely unbiased and based on merit. He claims that Akshay played contrasting and sensitive characters in both the films Rustom and airlift but had to mention just Rustom for technical reasons. The question lies if the actor’s range was considered over films or the most compelling performance. The nation wants to know how can an actor receive awards for his role in two films? Something that only the jury can answer. Another faulty decision taken at the awards is neglecting the most talked about film ” Aligarh” for its impactful message to the society. Priyadarshan seems to have a reason there too, he claimed that it was rejected at the lower levels before reaching it to him, also other regional films conveyed ‘ Fantastic social issues’. Hansal mehta who directed Aligarh took a dig at him asking him to define what ‘ fantastic social issues ‘ meant to him. A.r murugoss and Pink director shoojit sircar too seem to be disappointed at the decision for all eyes were on Amitabh bachchan who gave a commendable performance in PINK.
Awarded by the government and handed over by the president witnessed Regional cinema dominating Bollywood films as was the case earlier in 70’s and 80’s where ‘art’ or parallel cinema as defined by mainstream cinema industry were usually awarded and recognized to compensate for its box office debacle. It was Rekha in 1981 who broke the record and stunned Bollywood for winning Best actress for Umrao jaan. This triggered awarding Bollywood cinema acknowledging films of every genre be it Darr and ghayal for wholesome entertainment or Saif ali khan for hum tum , Ajay devgan for the legend of bhagat Singh. Kiron khers’s win for ‘ Bariwali in 2000 was also attached with a string of controversies where she refused to return the award. Raveena Tandon’s win for Daman and Ajay Devgan’s win was termed as nepotism for they were headed by acquaintances of these actors.
The question is that is National awards losing its authenticity and credibility which was instituted in 1954 and its guidelines state that “The National Awards for films provide special impetus to the regional cinema and encourage the production of films of aesthetic excellence and social relevance”. It should stick to the guidelines rather than favoring certain films or actors over the others or else lose its respect becoming another popular awards show of course minus the song and dance