Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 29:
Odia film director Lipika Singh Darai, along with nine other eminent filmmakers, has returned her three national awards protesting against government’s intolerance and curb on individual freedom.
Ten filmmakers including Lipika Singh Darai and her husband Indraneel Lahiri, with Dibakar Banerjee, Anand Pathwardhan, Paresh Kamdar, Nishtha Jain, Kirti Nakhwa, Harshvardhan Kulkarni, Hari Nair and Rakesh Sharma returned their national awards in Mumbai yesterday.
They were protesting against the government’s rigid stance in the unresolved FTII controversy and rising intolerance in the country.
“This is a symbolic protest to make everyone alert. I hope this creates a debate among the general public. Today thousands of people will be discussing among themselves that what good can returning of national awards do? This is the debate which is needed”, Lipika Singh Darai, told OST.
Concerned about the rising intolerance and shrinking personal freedom Lipika is deeply disturbed by the recent happenings in the country.
“We cannot live in a society that is not free. What we are talking about is that the government cannot force an ideology upon us, how should we live, what should we eat , whom should we love”, said the three times national award winning film director.
The national award was an honour no doubt but then we had promised ourselves, the jury and the people who had liked our work to keep up the freedom of expression when we received the award. We want to respect the jury’s choice and tax payers’ money by returning the award, said the 31 year-old director.
Lipika, an alumnus of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), was selected for the 61st National Film Award in Best Narration/ Voice Over category in 2013 for ‘Kankee O Saapo’ (Odia). She had earlier received the 57th National Award for Best Sound Recording and Mixing in 2009, for a film titled ‘Gaarud’ and 60th National Film Award in 2012 for Best Debut Film of a Director in the non-feature film category.
About claims of ‘Acche Din’ by Narendra Modi’s NDA government, “A progressive writer has been murdered. Today, I can be murdered for eating something inside my house. Where are the‘Acche Din’? Tomorrow someone can snatch my baby from my lap. Why wait for something like this to happen?” Lipika said.
Worried about the rising cases of farmer suicides in Odisha, Darai said that “The increasing number of farmer suicides is very worrying in Odisha. There should be a survey and farmers should be asked about the real cause of their misery and discouraged from ending their lives.”
Lipika, a native of Damasahi village of Mayurbhanj district, belongs to the Ho tribe. A commerce graduate, the daughter of banking professional, she was all set to study MBA; however, her inner calling landed her at the FTII.