Benegal elected NFA upgradation committee chairperson

NEW DELHI: Eminent filmmaker Shyam Benegal was unanimously elected as chairman of the Expert Committee for upgradation of the National Film Awards.

Speaking to the Committee members, I & B Minister Ambika Soni suggested that every effort should be made to ensure that the recommendations should be proper, democratic and transparent to minimise litigation. She also wanted that a time schedule should be set up for the National Film Awards (NFA) so that these become an annual feature in the film calendar of all film buffs.

Replying to her suggestions, the committee said that it would submit its recommendations by 15 March next year to be able to make qualitative changes for NFA 2009.

The committee will also make recommendations regarding upgradation of National Film Awards for feature, non-feature and best writing on cinema and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award and the resultant changes to be made in the Regulations.

The members acknowledged that National Film Awards carry a dignity and importance unrivalled by any other Awards in the industry, purely because National Film Awards give due recognition to the pan-Indian cinema in the country.

However, the members suggested that newer formats such as digital and newer media should be recognised, keeping in view the technological advancements. The Members were also of the view that a two-tier juries – regional and national - should be appointed to do justice to the language nuances/regional significance.

Members also suggested that in keeping with the earlier recommendations of the Satyajit Ray Committee and Karanth Committee reports, a ‘Chalchitra Academy’ should be established.

Increasing the cash components of the Awards and rationalizing the censorship procedures were also discussed.

Among those who attended the meeting today were Benegal, Ashoke Vishwanathan, Jahnu Barua, Mohan Agashe, Nagesh Kukunoor, Rajiv Mehrotra, Shaji N Karun, Vishal Bhardwaj, Sai Paranjapye and Central Board of Film Certification Chairperson Sharmila Tagore. Senior officials of the Ministry and Directorate of Film Festivals were also present.

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