Acceptance Statement: National Award for Best Documentary
New Delhi, February
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.