New Delhi: Documentary filmmaker, Lipika Singh Darai, who in 2015 returned her awards accusing the BJP government of “fanning intolerance” seemed to have a change of heart and on May 3 accepted the national award for her new documentary — The Waterfall.
Interestingly, though she had earlier returned the awards to Narendra Modi government, her film was selected for the award under the same political dispensation. Sources stated that her name was selected by the committee despite the fact that Lipika had returned her earlier awards and had severely criticised the functioning of the Central government.
It also elicits that the process established for selecting contenders for national awards is a transparent one and does not discriminate against anyone, sources added. When contacted Lipika refused to clarify as to what forced her to change her stance regarding the Narendra Modi government and on the issue of taking awards from the regime to which she and her fellow filmmakers had returned awards a couple of years ago. “I don’t want to answer these questions,” Lipika said.
Lipika bagged the Best Director Award in the recently held 64th National Film Award in the Best Educational Film category, for her documentary The Waterfall.
The film traces the evolution of a young city boy, Karun, to appreciate the value of the environment and think critically about climate change and development.
When contacted, another noted documentary filmmaker, Anand Patvardhan, who too had returned his awards had nothing much to say. “It’s her personal decision. Earlier she returned her award, now she has accepting,” he said.
Incidentally, Lipika and Patvardhan were among other signatories of the letter sent to President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which had condoled the BJP government of “intolerance”. In the letter the group, including Lipika, had stated, “We feel compelled to return the honour the state has bestowed on us.”
Hailing from the tribal community Ho, from Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district, Lipika is a graduate of the country’s prestigious Film and Television Institute of India Pune. In October 2015 she was among 10 filmmakers who had returned their National Awards in solidarity with the protesting FTII students and against growing intolerance.