Xclusive : 11-member Jury Of National Film Awards + All The Inside Dope

Posted: March 31, 2016 by moifightclub in Awards, bollywood, film, Indie, News, Xclusive
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


The 63rd National Film Awards were announced recently, and then we read all the reports in various newspapers and sites. Strangely, they all sounded the same without any homework, or didn’t even give any extra information other than what the official press release says. So we were forced to step in, do some homework, and BOOM!

Since we strongly believe that any award always say more about the jury and less about the film, we had to figure out this jury panel which went with Baahubali as the Best Film. A decision which was criticised strongly by many. In an era when most prestigious film awards brag about their strong jury, two desi jury panels are still kept as a secret – National Film Awards and the jury which selects India’s entry to Oscar Foreign Language Film. Strange. Why? We are scared of being answerable for making bad choices?

We met one of the jury member from the South panel, and he spilled out all the beans.  So here’s more on this year’s jury and the selection process. All the inside dope. #JanhitMeJaari

– At first stage, 5 regional panels were formed with 5 jury members in each panel. Every panel represented one region – like one for North, West, East each, and 2 for South as it has too many languages in which films are made. If North panel was responsible for shortlisting films/talent from Hindi, Punjabi, Haryanvi films, West panel was responsible for Marathi/Gujrati/Konkani language films, and East panel was responsible for Bengali/Oriya/Mizo/Manipuri and others.

– These 5 panels watched all the films which were submitted and shortlisted names in each category. These names were then sent to the Central panel.

– After the first phase of shortlisting was done, 1 member from each panel moved to the Central Panel. So that’s 5 members in Central Panel. 6 more members including the Jury Chairman Ramesh Sippy  joined the panel making it a panel of 11-member jury.

– So who were these 11 members who took the final call?

  1. Ramesh Sippy
  2. Satish Kaushik
  3. Munin Barua (from Assam)
  4. K Vasu (Andhra Pradesh)
  5. S R Leela (Karnataka)
  6. Shyamaprasad (Kerala)

– The 5 members who came from 5 regional panels are as follows

      7. Dharam Gulati (South panel)

      8. Gyan Sahay (East panel)

      9. Sanjib Datta (North panel)

     10. Gangai Amaran (West panel)

      11. John Mathew Matthan (South panel)

– When we asked how come Hindi/bollywood films bagged a whopping 22 out of 32 awards in main categories? The jury member said that it’s the case of old joke of Railway Ministry. Earlier they used to joke that from whichever state the Minister comes from, all the new trains start going towards the same state. It seems to be the same case this time. Look at the 11-member panel. More than half are from bollywood, and 2 senior strong members were there who dictated almost every choice. Rest were just yes-men. And that’s why some weird process was followed in the Central panel.

– The jury member told us that he was informed about the strict rules and regulations which clearly state that if you have any close relatives in the running, you shouldn’t be part of the jury. Now, Gangai Amaran is Ilaiyraaja’s real brother. And Ilaiyraaja won the award for the Best Background music in Tharai Thappattai. Hmmm. Either our jury member was misinformed or such rules don’t exist. Enlighten us please.

– In one of the acting category, the final choice that was made was not even recommended by any of the panel. The choices that were given was discarded by the Jury Chairman and he proposed a new name, and strongly struck to it. The chairman discarded one of the proposed names (who is easily one of country’s best actor) saying he is not in lead role in the film. When one of the members pointed out that by the same logic, the name that he is proposing is also not in lead role, the argument was dismissed blatantly.

-Similarly, in another acting category, the Chairman proposed a new name out of the blue and decided that she should win when her name was not recommended by any panel.

– The voting happened in only 2 categories.

– A film which got unanimous rave reviews (nationally and internationally) when it released, had got strong recommendation in 4 categories (debut, screenplay, best supporting and special jury). But none of them were considered. There was an unwritten rule that nothing will go to this film as one of the producers of the film had made headlines when he returned his previous National Award.

– Another film which had a great production design (for its period setting) and was close contender for best production design as it was strongly recommended by the first panel,  it was also dismissed because of same reason – the director was part of #awardwapsi gang.

– The Central panel went with the recommendation of regional panels for best film in various languages except for Hindi and English language.

– For Best Hindi language film, two two names that were proposed by first panel were discarded as one of the Jury member proposed a new name and strongly stood for it. The joke in the Central panel was the theme of the film must have resonated with the jury member as he has similar features like one of the film’s lead.

– An actress was in running for Special Jury Award for an unreleased film. But since she had voiced her opinion strongly about a recent news event, and had even written about it, her name was quickly dropped.

– A major talent who is not really pro government, has bagged an award this year. The jury member said there was no chance that he was going to win. Luckily, there was hardly any good submission in the category. And his work was exemplary in that category. So they had no choice but to award him. Last time when his film bagged few awards, his name was put in the “to be watched” list.

For complete list of National Film Awards, click here.

– Team mFC

UPDATE – As pointed out by @atlasdanced, it seems  Gangai Amaran has clarified that he abstained from voting when Ilayraja’s work was discussed. One more report here. Anyone has more clarity on the rule and the process?

  1. Apan Singhal says:

    This is one brilliant puzzle. Stuck in solving it.🙂

  2. hasjaru says:

    Where I missed d disclaimer that this site has close relation with the film allegedly deprived ‘Masan’….oh no…that I m sorry …that would not be cool to ask….so ‘Intolerant’ of me.

    • @Rohwit says:

      Hello hasraju, this site has no ‘close’ relations with anyone. You want to take down a film/album someone wrote a ‘recco’ post on this blog, send it to us with logic and not just acid, it will go up too.

      So chill and get well soon

      • hasjaru says:

        Cute reply ( don’t know if it is from brother in law of Neeraj) but I again missed d logic part too in d monologue. RS/Kala RW hence dropping ‘usual suspect’ hints that whole process rigged, while not even subtle mention that Masan etc indeed won in some cat. My reply was as a worthy as d essay…lets end it here or ‘there will be blood’.

        • @Rohwit says:

          Brother pls dont get personal. Bro in law and all.

          And I am not scared bhai. If you are trying hard to threaten me, do a better job pls.

          Take care and get well soon.

  3. Let me guess the actress🙂 Swara Bhaskar for Nil Battey Sannata

  4. Thank you for sharing these, but please spare us (me?) the snooping around, and tell who the “names” and “people” you talk of are… : /

  5. raj says:

    Gangai amaran abstained from voting. He also fell out with his brother long back and is known for his acerbic anti raja posts in fb. But then lets throw accusations blindly eh?

    • Meg says:

      A falling out can go the other way, cloud judgement and affect fairness too.. hate does the same work here as love, hence the rule of rescuing oneself if a family member is involved because one way or the other, impartiality and objectivity are compromised! So much for blind accusation!

    • chennaiman@gmail.com says:

  6. Nonie says:

    Umm, you are as usual talking only of feature films and the feature jury here, when you describe the panels and the two tier selection process. What about documentary, shorts and animation? They don’t count as films/cinema? Its infuriating when newspapers claim to give “the full list of awards” then completely forget the scores of films that are awarded for docu/shorts/animation; but i expected better from your site.

  7. So looks like Bachchan was not the unanimous choice for Piku but his name was pushed by Sippy (worked together in several legendary films, and their sons are BFFs too). The best actor choices could have been Irrfan for Piku or Nawaz for Badlapur/Manjhi??

    It’s possible that Tanvi Azmi’s name was also recommended and backed by Sippy? Since it’s a “she” and a “name that was not recommended by any panel”, it couldn’t be Kangana as she was one of the front runners in the acting categories anyways.

  8. Oh and film with great production design is most likely Bombay Velvet. But the award went to Bajirao Mastani (a worthy winner IMO).

    Best Hindi Film was probably recommended by Satish Kaushik. “Similar features like one of the film’s lead” could be a reference to Kaushik being overweight like the film’s lead female character.

    Neeraj Ghaywan who won the Indira Gandhi award has been pretty outspoken and opinionated on Twitter of his views of the current government. He previously assisted Kashyap on Gangs which one a few national awards. But of course Masaan was a shoo-in for that category. And giving the award to anyone else would’ve been committing harakiri. It could have exposed a bias, if there was one.

  9. Lastly, I knew something was amiss when Madhur Bhandarkar was awarded a Padma award. If that was any indication of how political leaning influences honors, the national award announcement and all these “back-door negotiations” pretty much confirm it.

  10. Anonymous says:

    So Varun Grover is “Major tailunt”. Cool.

  11. S Narwekar says:

    You complain about the secrecy of the names of the jury members and yet, the entire article mentions no names. Example: in one acting category …, in another acting category etc.Not mentioning the name of “one jury member from South panel” can be called protecting your sources but the rest should be spelt out or the article loses meaning. Incidentally I do agree with you.

  12. Timebandit says:

    Titli would be the one with 4 nominations , but dibakar was the co producer. Byomkesh’s production design, again dibakar involved. Swara bhaskar for nil bhate sannate for jury award, but she spoke for jnu and gurvinder had to be given for chauthi koot eventhough he was not pro govt. Mofight club, am i close enough

    • YO says:

      You got right everything, but I think its not Gurvinder, but Vishal Bharadwaj as he won Best Adapted Screenplay for Talwarr and last year Haider won few awards

  13. With respect to close relatives being on the panel, the last time it happened was in 1997 when Charu Hassan was in the panel while Kamal Hassan was nominated for Indian.

    Charu Hassan also abstained from voting -http://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/as-long-as-people-get-to-see-good-theatre-the-cause-lives/211562 (read the 7th answer in this interview – one of the jury members at that time)

    If close relatives have to be taken off, you also need to consider close friends. The last time Amitabh Bachchan was awarded the best actor award, Ramesh Sippy was the chairman of the jury (2010 for Paa).

  14. Aditya Pant says:

    The rules and procedures are in public domain at the Directorate of Film Festivals website

  15. […] Xclusive : 11-member Jury Of National Film Awards + All The Inside Dope […]

  16. Vineetha says:

    VB=pretty vocal when his film was released last year and faced protests, slammed government etc.
    VB=signatory against a certain individual running for PM and advising people not to vote for him
    Guess who won the national award for last year? Guess the unstated rules were not stated then. But then, it doesn’t suit your narrative

  17. chennaiman@gmail.com says:

    Gangai Amaren interview to a Tamil portal – https://youtu.be/zaR0s0PKgUA?t=8m4s – “I only played the climax and explained to the jury on how the background score has been utilised”

  18. Diwana says:

    The reason the jury is kept secret is precisely so that those who are in the kinship of the jury members (friends, family members, etc.) or those who may be able to exert influence over them cannot because it is not known in the first place who the jury members are. This is very simple, basic logic and one must refrain from casual paranoia or conspiracy theories.

    The day the award is announced, the head of the jury makes a public appearance through the press to announce the winners, with a few members of his/her respective jury present to give him company. A month later, the official catalogue with names and profiles of all jury members is uploaded online on the DFF website, available for easy reference. Your ‘information’ is false – you just happen to not have your research in place.

    It is your right to infer a bias in the jury results – there is no doubt that there is infact bias in this set of decisions too, but that is really the nature of any jury, anywhere in the world, there is no fail-proof method that can ensure complete integrity (what does that even mean when placing one film against another?)

    Your aspersions on Sippy are also stupid and misplaced, frankly – he was the jury head for 2009 as well, and the Best Film Award was given to ‘Kutty Srank’. I am quite certain you will have to do a check on who directed the film, but it wasn’t a mainstream drama. Why haven’t you mentioned this fact anywhere? The Best Actor that year too was Amitabh Bachchan. For Paa. And no, there is no conspiracy here.

    Awards are meant to be arbitrary and absurd – the fact that you give them so much importance and see them as symptoms of a larger conspiracy do not reflect well on you. Also, there is hypocrisy: individuals who celebrate winning the award and accepting state patronage at the moment of its reception are the same ones who rally against the establishment the rest of the year. If you have a genuine issue with the state, just how can you spend so much time discussing awards issued by it – and also, expect it not to be politically guided? This is merely a strange, twisted perception of how mechanisms in the contemporary world work and I think you need to understand how complex these systems are.

    Your loyalties should not automatically align with any film that is made under the broad and ill-defined ambit of independent cinema. I haven’t seen Bahubali and I have no interest in it either, but the fact that it is a mainstream film does not mean it is automatically inferior to other, smaller films, each of which have their significant shares of problems.

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