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Recognition delayed is recognition denied
By Behindwoods News Bureau.
June 17, 2008

Last week, finally the National Film Awards for the year 2006 were announced. The first thing to do would be to congratulate all those who have proved their credentials at the National level. The next thing is to check as to how many of them were still hanging around in the film industry where instant recognition and endorsement mean a lot. Yes,

Kabul Express

established film makers like Vidhu Vinodh Chopra and Rajkumar Hirani do not need the stamp of a National Award to carry on with their work. But some of the smaller makers who create cinema in the purists’ way might have found this wait for recognition just too long. Not having any commercial backing, they rely heavily and sometimes entirely on awards and film festivals for recognition of art. Though the term ‘art house’ cinema may not be in use these days and while many claim that there is no such thing as art cinema, we cannot deny that there are still a very small, yet significant set of makers who put the art of cinema before the business of cinema.

The winner of the National Award for the best film, Pulijanmam is a classic example of how late recognition can be in coming. Made and appreciated some time in mid 2006, most of the people, even hardcore film fans and film festival frequenters had forgotten the movie in the rush of new releases. Yes, when the awards were announced, the name was instantly remembered, recollected and plaudits were showered afresh. But recognition and applause are things best served hot and time can take the zing out of recognition that spurs a maker onto greater heights.

The same goes with Kabir Khan, winner of the best debutant director award for Kabul Express that was released in early 2006. For a young director who showed the courage to start off with an unconventional theme albeit with the help of some star power and the Yashraj banner, the dividends should have come much earlier. The movie was appreciated to some extent by the niche audience and did not do too badly at the box office but the biggest honor was the National Award and that took nearly 18 months in coming. We have hardly heard about Kabir Khan since Kabul Express, maybe he is planning something really top notch as his next venture. However, one cannot help think how a timely National honor would have inspired this film maker with a conviction.

Yes, the National Awards are things worth celebrating and several reasons have been furnished for the awards being delayed thus. But none of this can compensate the young and different film makers who had to wait in the wilderness or even worse, get lost in it while waiting for the elusive National recognition. ‘Justice delayed is justice denied’, that’s an old saying. It’s the same with recognition, ‘recognition delayed is recognition denied’.

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