As more and more film personalities come forward to return their awards, Pahlaj Nihalani, the chairperson of the censor board and an active member of the ruling party, is all set to hold a meeting of the top brass from the film industry to remind them of how much the film industry has benefited from the present regime.
Says Pahlaj, “It was the NDA, the National Democratic Alliance of which the BJP was a part, which granted the ‘industry’ status to the film industry. Before that the film fraternity did not receive any of the financial benefits that industries are entitled to. We are what we are because of the NDA’s decision to consider us an industry.”
Nihalani points out that the NDA-BJP also opened doors for the film industry to receive bank loans. “Before we got ‘industry’ status no bank wanted to touch us. After the industry status we were entitled to bank benefits. Also the multiplex theaters were given a 5-year tax holiday by the NDA government. I’d say the NDA gave the film industry its current shape.”
And now, says Nihalani, the same government is being insulted by those filmmakers who are returning their awards. “It’s not right. I think it’s the height of intolerance to return awards as a form of protest. Kundan Shah, Dibakar Bannerjee, Zoya Akhtar …their films have won one award each. They should be proud of the award and not disrespect it.”
Nihalani is expected to urge his colleagues to take back their awards. “We will start an anti-awards vapsi campaign and hope that the film industry will see how ungrateful they are being by flinging the awards back in the faces of the very elements who made them an industry. Awards lautaane waalon , kuch sharm karo! ” says Nihalani.