How did Baahubali get National Award for Best Film, asks Adoor Gopalakrishnan

The selection of 'Baahubali' sends out a wrong message to the filmmakers, the Dadasaheb Phalke awardee said

How did Baahubali get National Award for Best Film, asks Adoor Gopalakrishnan

Dadasaheb Phalke awardee and veteran Malayalam filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan has slammed the process to pick movies for national film awards and said that he could not understand how a movie like Baahubali could get the National Award for the Best Film.

According to a report in Malayala Manorama, Adoor told media at Aspinwall House, the main venue of Kochi Muziris Biennale 2016: "The selection of Baahubali

sends out a wrong message to the filmmakers that one should spend hundreds of crores of rupees to make a good film.”

This comes a day after The Hindu reported that he had written to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting urging it to ensure that the jury to select films for the national awards this year is headed by a filmmaker of eminence who is familiar with modern trends in cinema, and the jury as a whole instils a feeling of fairness in the minds of the professionals involved.

He said a film like Baahubali should have been considered for awards meant for commercial films only.

He also slammed the selection committee of Indian Panorama in the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), which was held in Goa in November, for sidelining several good films to give more space for commercial films. “I even heard that one of the jury members was worried that the makers of Rajinikanth's 'Kabaali' did not file the film as an entry for the IFFI,” Adoor reportedly said.

In a letter addressed to I&B Secretary Ajay Mittal, which was released for publication on Monday, Gopalakrishnan urged him to treat selection of the jury chairman and members seriously and stop an ‘incompetent jury from sitting to judge our work’.

The national awards were conceived as a means to select and award films for their thematic relevance, social commitment, original approach, technical excellence and, above all, aesthetic brilliance.

“Unfortunately, when the national awards for 2015 were announced, all the major prizes, including that for the best film and the best director, went to outright commercial films, undermining the very purpose for which they were instituted,” he wrote in the letter.

Slamming the IFFI movie selection, he wrote: “Everyone in the profession was shocked by the kind of selection that was made. Anything genuine, original and artistic was rejected with a vengeance. The naïve, gaudy and incongruous got in. If one finds a reasonably good film in the selection it should have got in by mistake. Critics attending the Mumbai, Kolkata and Kerala festivals were heard saying that the rejections in Goa would make a good festival of the best of Indian cinema in the year 2016.”

He said it was very important that the names of nominees, as well as their qualification to be on the jury, were made public before they sit for selecting films.