Acceptance Statement: National Award for Best Documentary

New Delhi, February 2, 2005
Two years ago our film “War and Peace” was refused a censor certificate. The Bombay High Court finally ruled that the film could be shown without cuts. Next we fought so that documentaries in the video format could become eligible for national awards. Our fight does not end here. The filmmaking community wants to ensure that censor certificates are no longer required for national awards and film festivals.

In a country like India divided by class, caste and gender, the democratic rights of weaker sections continue to be compromised. And yet it will be foolish to ignore the moments in time when our democracy begins to live up to its name.

“War and Peace” is a critique of nuclear weapons in India and abroad. The Honourable President who is giving this national award is one of the architects of India’s nuclear policy! This may be a delicious irony but it is also a welcome signifier of democracy.

Our next effort will be to get the film telecast on national television and encourage debate on what exactly constitutes national security, what is considered to be good science, and what constitutes patriotism – is it love for a piece of land that could well become radio-active for millions of years, or love for the people who live and die on this land.

I thank the many who helped to make and show the film and accept this award on behalf of all those in our subcontinent who are fighting for democracy, communal harmony, de-militarization and peace.
Anand Patwardhan