The extravaganza is over, the deed done, awards announced, the show telecast. A guest alluded to our show as the big fat Indian wedding but given the present climate of introspection, I would rather go for the recent ‘Chintan Shivir’ of the Congress party.
After the nerve-wracking preparations that last a couple of months, it feels like an appropriate time to take stock of all that we are doing right or wrong.
In the last two decades, the Screen Jury has been giving the nod of approval to some pretty unconventional films and their makers, while others would play the popular card and worship the flavour of the season. Fortunately for us at Screen, buckling under pressure has never been an option. So, we continued to stoically tread our intrepid path.
But, now, over the past few years, it is heartening to see that the nominations and eventually, the winners, handpicked by the Screen Jury have become inclusive of all kinds of cinema — old and new, setting the tone for all other Award Shows to follow.
Unconventional is inconvenient. And yet, it is inevitable. Inconvenient it certainly has been to withstand opposition from multiple quarters, but now, as we watch the efforts of all others to make the right choices in line with ours, it is a moment of silent pride.
Indeed, these are competitive times what with an increasing number of agencies looking at ‘award shows’ as a profitable venture, and therefore a time to exercise caution and not get carried away with the profit and loss pitch; a reminder that we keep sending ourselves time and again.
That the essence of instituting these awards — of celebrating creative excellence and courage in cinema — must remain and be strengthened no matter what the circumstances, is not lost on us. It resonates within us, above the marketplace din of who scored over the other in terms of TRPs.
To repeat a portion of my speech from the Award ceremony last week (borrowed from the film Ratatouille):
There are times when a critic truly risks something and that is in the discovery and defense of the new.