Pune, Oct 29: 13 prominent filmakers have raised their voice in solidarity with the students of FTII, expressing their right to freedom of speech and choice, have decided to return their awards to the government. Out of them, 10 are of national-level fame.
They are Anand Patwardhan, Dibakar Banerjee, Paresh Kamdar, Nishtha Jain, Kirti Nakhwa, Harshavardhan Kulkarni, Hari Nair, Rakesh Sharma, Indraneel Lahiri and Lipika Singh Darai.
They signed a memorandum, saying,"As filmmakers, we stand firmly with the students of FTII and are determined to not let them shoulder the entire burden of their protests. They have mounted a historic struggle and we urge others within our fraternity to come forward and carry this protest forward."
Apart from that, three prominent alumni of the FTII, Pune-Vikrant Pawar of Maharashtra, Rakesh Shukla of Uttar Pradesh and Prateek Vats of Goa-have also declared that they would return their awards in protest against "an atmosphere of intolerance" in the country in the recent past.
In a signed statement in a press conference in the evening, the filmakers urged the government to reveal its commitment to protect the freedom of expression of the people.
Banerjee, however said that the move was not politically motivated, but was motivated by "my conscience....I am returning it to raise public conscience".
Patwardhan further added,"We appeal to the people, not the government... We want to be party of the awakening that is happening around the country with scientists, artistes and writers returning their honours."