How Shah Rukh, Shabana lost out at the Awards

Jul 15, 2005

Mumbai, July 15 (IANS) Why did Shah Rukh Khan and Shabana Azmi's excellent performances in "Swades" and "Morning Raga" go unnoticed by the National Awards jury?

According to inside information, Sudhir Mishra, head of the jury, was very keen on Shah Rukh Khan getting the award. However, the other members voted him down, arguing that "Swades" was pretentious and too obvious.

"It was like what happened when Satyajit Ray made 'Pather Panchali'. Every one said he was a bhadralok and what did he know about rural life? Ray was too good to be thwarted by such anaemic assessments. Unfortunately, Ashutosh Gowariker hasn't really got there. Shah Rukh suffered because there was vehement opposition to the film among the jury members. It was almost like a psychological block," says a member of the awards committee.

But Shah Rukh seems to have taken the defeat sportingly. "Saif's award (for 'Hum Tum') is very deserving. I wish him lots of success for the future. God bless him with happiness and many more awards."

The fate suffered by Shabana Azmi, who gave a superlative-defying performance in Mahesh Dattani's "Morning Raga", was even more unbelievable.

The film couldn't enter the National Awards because it was found to be ineligible.

"Can you believe this?" asks Shabana incredulously. "It was apparently disqualified because English isn't considered an Indian language. They asked for 80 percent of 'Morning Raga' to be re-shot in an Indian language to be eligible for the National Awards.

"Considering so many Indian films are made in English, isn't it time English was recognised as an Indian language?"

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