Oscar, or Academy Awards, is a prestigious award related to movies. Oscar is a private event, like Golden Globes, or back home Filmfare Awards. It is organized by Academy of Motion Picture Arts (AMPAS) and Sciences – a private society based in US.
It sounded absurd to us at OpIndia.com when some people on Twitter claimed that BJP government was appointing its own man – a BJP MLA and Gujarati actor Naresh Kanodia – as head of the committee that would select India’s official entry to Oscar.
It sounded absurd because we wondered why was the government involved in something that was essentially a private event – the Oscar awards.
And why just Oscars; why does the government not send an official entry to Golden Globes, or for that matter any other prestigious movie awards functions?
And our doubts were right. The Government of India indeed has no role to play in selection of movie that becomes India’s “official” entry to Oscars. This was a public knowledge earlier this year when filmmaker Hansal Mehta got this reply from the government to an RTI query he had put:
Response from I&B Ministry to RTI filed nearly 3 months back on the FFI and its authority in sending… pic.twitter.com/IkMmhHDydu
— Hansal Mehta (@mehtahansal) January 20, 2015
India’s official entry to Oscar is selected by a committee chosen by the Film Federation of India (FFI), which is a private body of Indian film producers, distributors, exhibitors, and studio owners. FFI has been authorized by AMPAS to select Indian entry for Best Foreign Language Film at Oscar.
So it is a deal between two private and professional organizations, and the government has got nothing to do with it. Yet, it created outrage and controversy.
Here is a Senior Associate Editor working at the Outlook magazine, who blamed the government without checking facts:
Pahlaj, Gajendra ke baad BJP sarkar ki latest blockbuster offering… https://t.co/nAvNWR0MKE
— Namrata Joshi (@Namrata_Joshi) August 20, 2015
There were numerous others who blamed the government and equated this appointment with appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the FTII Chairman. It is worth mentioning here that Outlook has put the FTII issue on their magazine cover for the latest issue, so maybe their journalist was looking for more ‘masala’ to add there.
Thanks to such comments by journalists, the issue was soon latched up by AAP and Congress supporters on Twitter, who made fun of Naresh Kanodia – without knowing a thing about his work – and cried “Saffronization” and “Emergency”.
This morning, it was reported that not Naresh Kanodia, but veteran actor Amol Palekar, whose credentials are beyond question, was the one who would head the committee to choose India’s official entry to Oscars.
So the entire controversy was based on a lie and spin about government’s involvement.
The most unfortunate aspect of this outrage and controversy was that it was choreographed by many who are part of Bollywood and perhaps knew that the government had got nothing to do with the appointment. Many of them are friends and associates of Hansal Mehta. But even Mr. Mehta didn’t bother to correct his colleagues.
Why let facts come into the way of a good outrage? eh?
Finally, some from inside the Bollywood spoke up against it, and conceded that it was part of a larger agenda:
Its a shame when senior filmmakers & Journalists fabricate and spread rumours for their selfish agendas and create dirty controversies.
— Vivek Agnihotri (@vivekagnihotri) August 24, 2015
— Manish Mundra (@ManMundra) August 24, 2015