Days after the Dadasaheb Phalke Awards Academy announced a new category – ‘International Actress’ – conferring Priyanka Chopra and comedian Kapil Sharma, grandson of Phalke, Chandrashekhar Pusalkar is upset about the way his grandfather’s name is being misused in the name of awards.
Speaking to DNA India, he said: “First of all, we feel sorry about the manner in which Dadasaheb Phalke’s name is being misused everywhere. Even when it concerns the Central Government awards, which are supposed to be the most credible awards, we haven’t been invited for a single award function in the past 46 years. They did not even bother to locate us. In that respect, the Dadasaheb Phalke Academy, though it is a private academy, took the trouble of tracing us. They were also instrumental in renaming Film City as Dadasaheb Phalke Chitra Nagari.”
His grouse with these award functions started when awards started branching out of Dadasaheb Phalke’s name. While he welcomed it initially, he later realised it was all a sham. “It is disappointing that Dadasaheb Phalke’s name has become like a marketing commodity, being used by people with an intention of commercial gains,” he said, adding that an incident that happened a while ago upset him more.
“I remember they got me to give an award to a man with a criminal background. I told them that I would not come there again. We would not like Phalke’s name to be tarnished.”
The Dadasaheb Phalke Awards Academy, instituted by the Film Federation with 38 industry crafts affiliated to it, was last held in 2014. The event is slated to take place today, with the idea of showing that it is a genuine award function apart from the one held by the government. “This award show couldn’t take place for years due to certain limitations’,” said Ganesh Jain, the Chairperson of the Academy.
Incidentally, there are several award functions that claim to affiliate themselves with the Phalke awards. Speaking on the credibility of the other awards, Sangram Shirke, the President of the Western India Film Producers Association, told DNA that most of these award functions result in chaos.
“There is the Dadasaheb Film Foundation Awards and one helmed by another person, who branched out from our academy and set up his own event company. It is okay if all the awards co-exist, but this has led to chaos. Also, there is talk that some of these awards can be easily bought. Besides, everyone wants an award and that’s how some of them get sponsors and big names to back them.”
So what Kapil Sharma and Priyanka Chopra have been awarded isn’t the authentic Dadasaheb Phalke Award. The ‘Dadasaheb Phalke Award’ that Sharma, Chopra have been chosen for is presented by a certain Dadasaheb Phalke Academy that has been honouring talent from the Hindi and regional cinema since 2000. This academy acknowledges 22 different crafts of the industry, right from make-up artists to spot boys.