Prominent filmmakers Dibakar Banerjee, Anand Patwardhan and eight others today returned their National Awards in solidarity with the protesting FTII students and against growing intolerance in the country. Banerjee and other filmmakers said their decision to return the awards was taken in view of the apathy displayed by the government in addressing the students issues and the general environment of intolerance against debate.
"I am not here out of anger, outrage. Those emotions have long been exhausted. I am here to draw attention. Returning my very first National Award which I received for 'Khosla Ka Ghosla' is not easy. It was my first film and for many my most loved," Banerjee told a press conference here.
"If there is intolerance of debate, of questioning and usually intolerance of a student body wanting to have a better teaching environment and that intolerance manifests in apathy, then that is what we are protesting against," he said.
Other filmmakers who have returned their awards are Nishtha Jain of "Gulabi Gang" fame, Paresh Kamdar, Kriti Nakhwa, "Hunterrr" director Harshvardhan Kulkarni, Hari Nair, Rakesh Sharma, Indraneel Lahiri and Lipika Singh Darai. They have issued a letter to President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.