It would have been better if one Rajat Kamal and Swarna Kamal would have been given for each of the regional languages for writing on films.
Like every year, this year too, the awards given for the best writing at the National Film Awards were the least discussed. This year, Saibal Chatterjee was made the chairman of the selection committee for the Writing Award on Cinema. The jury headed by Raghavendra Patil and Rajeev Masand selected Sanjay Suri’s book ‘A Gandhian Affair – India’s Curious Portrait of Love in Cinema’ from HarperCollins for Swarna Kamal, while Ashok Rane’s Marathi book ‘Cinema Paharana Manush’ was selected for ‘ and ‘Kannada Cinema-Jagathika Cinema Vikas Prerna Parabhava’ written in Kannada by PR Ramadas Naidu received a special mention for his contribution to cinema writing. Simultaneously, Sohini Chattopadhyay, a long-time writer on various social issues and various subjects and a recipient of the Ramnath Goenka Award, was selected as the best critic.
It is noteworthy that for writing on cinema so far in India only ‘National Film Award’ is awarded. It has only two awards for all Indian languages, one for the film review and the other for the book on the film. In fact, writing on cinema can take the responsibility of the facilitator of that tradition with the expectation of developing cinema according to social awareness and human aesthetic. Despite this, this category of award has not been included in any of the popular awards so far. Probably because Hindi cinema never wanted it to get an enlightened audience and increased pressure on it to develop itself according to their expectations.
In fact, writing on a film is a very complex and serious task. It is believed that the level of understanding of the writer on the film should be more or less equal to that of the screenwriter and director, so that he can enter the process of making a film and test it on the basis of current social issues and aesthetics. The question is why with so much perseverance one would want to be active in a field which has no prestige. Neither in the eyes of those for whom he is writing, nor in the eyes of those on whom he is writing.
For the promotion of regional cinema, films made in languages outside the constitution have also been honored. It would have been better to have one Rajat Kamal and Swarna Kamal for all regional languages for writing on films. It is through reviews that the plant thinking about cinema gets a new energy.
(The author is a National Film Award winning art critic)