Will Filmfare Awards Help in Assam’s Image Correction?
Anti-CAA activists feel organizing Filmfare Awards now in Assam is tantamount to insulting the local film fraternity and the people of Assam
One of the most glamorous cine awards – the Filmfare Awards — will be held in Guwahati on February 15. The forthcoming event is raising many questions about how it will help the state as the Assam government is directly investing Rs 30 crores as the destination partner of the event. There are bound to be hidden costs as well because providing security and other amenities will be the government’s responsibility. G Plus analyses the pros and cons of Guwahati hosting the award extravaganza.
While on the pros, the government claims that the state will get positive promotion across the globe and there will be certainly an image correction.
“We are just the destination partner and it was the organisers who approached the government for organising the event. After various levels of scrutiny it was decided by the highest authority to allow the event to be held here as it would promote the state internationally because this is the first time that Filmfare is being organised outside Mumbai and all film lovers within and outside the country watch this event,” said a senior official of the tourism department.
Recently, Aparshakti Khurana visited Manas National Park for a shoot for the Awards, Elli Avram shot in Pobitora, Angad Bedi in Kaziranga and Karishma Tanna in Sivasagar for the promotions of the event. Similarly, the official said that many superstars like Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt, Shah Rukh Khan and others will visit Assam for the event. The one day event will bring unprecedented promotion and publicity for the state.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) executive member Rajkumar Tewari said, “It is not true that the event will not help the state. Top businessmen of the country and celebrities will visit and this will bring investments to the state.” He expressed that people are apprehensive of coming to Assam but this event will prove that Assam is peaceful and there are no protests here. Talking about the Assamese film industry, he said that even the film industry will gain because if the Bollywood filmmakers plan to make films in Assam after the event, many Assamese artists will get opportunities to work with them. The event will also be a boon for many sectors like the transport industry, hotel industry and so on.
While there are these claims of image correction by the saffron government, the local film fraternity feels the event would be of no use to the state.
Demanding immediate cancellation of the 65th Filmfare Awards 2020 scheduled to be held in Assam, people from different sections of the society, including the film fraternity, have vehemently opposed the staging of the mega awards ceremony in Guwahati on February 15 this year.
"How can the state government get in touch with a corporate festival held by a film magazine and even invest such a huge amount of money to hold it at a time when the situation in Assam is embroiled with the CAA fiasco?” noted Assamese filmmaker Jahnu Barua asked.
Some prominent faces of the Assamese film industry including Zerifa Wahid, Pulak Banerjee, Bhupen Ujir and Ravi Sarma among others addressed media persons at the Guwahati Press Club recently and opposed the event.
Senior journalist and social activists Manjit Mahanta said, “The organisers tried to hold the awards in Gujarat and West Bengal; the state governments there did not fund the event. Only Assam government is using public money for an event which will not help the state by any means.”
Mahanta, who is also an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) activist, said that at a time when 8 people died protesting against Citizenship Amendment Act, organising such an event is insulting the people of Assam and the local film fraternity who are not benefitting anything from such an event.
Talking about other cons it seems the organisers are organising the event without proper recce and planning. A source in Dispur revealed that the ticket sales on bookmyshow.com have been suspended after two days of sale as the organisers were planning to accommodate a 10,000-strong audience. But the sitting plan at the venue (Sarusajai Stadium) would face problems accommodating such a huge crowd. The sitting plan, according to the source, is again being reviewed and the ticket sales will resume after the exact capacity is finalised. Also, the organisers asked for a parking capacity of 2,000 vehicles inside the stadium premises, whereas according to traffic police sources, only 250 vehicles could be allowed to be parked inside the stadium.
On a regular working day, traffic remains blocked at the Lokhra crossing blocks for around 15 to 30 minutes. On 15th February how will the traffic be managed? The administration authorities will likely have to block the entire stretch from Airport to Khanapara, or else it would be difficult to manage the traffic.
No doubt the government wants to clear the state’s image, but the local artists and activists also do have a point. Also, with the ticket prices ranging from Rs 1,000 to Rs 3 lakhs, the activists allege that the general public will not be able to see such an expensive event.