Awards have lost their credibility and validity for quite some time; the reason is simple; politics entered there also. Art had been once a field where politics was played by the rival artists only. Nevertheless, days have changed. Politics which almost and already entered every walk of our life in India like a pandemic, entered openly into the awards for cinema, arts etc. also.
The recent announcement of the coveted Dadasaheb Phalke Award for films is a glaring example of this. The awardee is Tamil Super Star Rajinikant.
Why Rajinikant? Earlier years this particular award which was given to thespians who had long innings in cinema with a variety of qualifications to their credit in film industry. Look at these names of the former award winning personalities. None has only the credit of just acting or producing or writing. If recent actors like Amitabh Bhachchan and Vinod Khanna were selected for this award one can smell the entry of politics into the selection. Even then, both Amitabh who was consistently known for his ‘Angry man’ image in his earlier movies had moved over to serious and tough characters of aged, mentally sick and intelligent ones like he did in recent years. There is no second opinion about his versatility. Vinod Khanna made his forays in politics and was successful too apart from his offbeat movies and characters he had played.
But, Super Star Rajinikant?
He had only the qualification of acting in several commercial films only to appease his band of fans with some ‘style’ of his own. In later years, he had started mouthing dialogues to indicate that he will come to politics and serve the public soon. He christened it with a holy sobriquet; ‘Spiritual Politics’. In recent times, in the absence of both Mu.Karunanidhi of DMK and J Jayalalithaa of AIADMK, he mustered courage to speak a bit louder and started making statements like ‘if not now, when can I come and serve Tamil Nadu people and cleanse the dirty politics?’
Well. When he had to make the crucial decision before the recent hustings, he simply backed away citing his health as reason.
The ruling party which was building hope on hope to rope in Rajinikant to come and support was definitely put off by his decision. Who advised Rajinikant to stay away from politics? The Super Star said the ‘Doctors’ and ‘Covid 19’. But, those who are aware of TN’s murky politics knew the advisor.
The central government being just another opportunistic one preferred to silence the Super Star voicing for some other party as the elections came close. So they offered him the Highest Award for Films to the actor who has the lowest credit with a bag full of useless pot boilers. He was no all-rounder. He was not even a producer of merit or qualification in any other area of film making. Rajinikant had to be silent because cinema is his bread and butter and he is also not ready to antagonize the presently powerful central government.
If at all anyone who deserves Dada Saheb Phalke Award in Tamil Nadu now, it is actor, director, writer, dancer, singer, producer and also who proved his versatility more than once through many of his films, actor turned politician Kamalhassan. But, he cannot be selected because now as he is a strong critic of PM in no uncertain terms and actively entered politics with open attacks on the present governance. The central government obviously chose his professional rival and non-performer both politically and in acting Rajinikant for the award and thus slighted Kamal Hassan.
If one has to say in Hindi , it is like ‘Ek theer, Do Nishan’; (One arrow, two targets)
So politics won; the Award failed.