The family of pioneering director Dhundiraj Govind Phalke is not pleased by the number of awards given out in his name and feels sidelined by the government, which presents the Dadasaheb Phalke award every year.
“Recently, Vinod Khanna was honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award posthumously but we haven’t been invited to any of the award functions so far,” Chandrashekhar Pusalkar, the legendary filmmaker’s grandson, told IANS in an interview. “I don’t think they even have our address.”
Phalke made India’s first feature film, Raja Harishchandra, in 1913 and made more than 90 films, including shorts and documentaries, in his career.
Considered Indian cinema’s highest honour, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award is given out at the National Film Awards ceremony every year. Apart from this, there are the Dadasaheb Phalke Excellence Awards, the Dadasaheb Phalke Film Foundation Awards and the Dadasaheb Phalke Academy Awards.
Pusalkar said he considers the Dadasaheb Phalke Academy Awards to be the most trustworthy of the lot. “Dadasaheb Phalke Academy has been paying tribute to my grandfather since the last 18 years,” Pusalkar told IANS. “The Academy not only acknowledges icons, seniors and legends from the field of acting and production, but also from the 22 different crafts of the film industry, including acting, direction, technicians, make-up artistes and spot.”
He said that the awards barring the government honour had split into different ceremonies in recent years. “After 2015, due to some differences, some people have started Dada Saheb Phalke Film Foundation Awards and afterwards some people started Dada Saheb Phalke Excellence Awards,” he said. “So, from the same Dadasaheb Phalke Academy Awards, another two parts have been formed. I used to attend all three award ceremonies because they used to call us as a guest, but my only request to them is they should come under one umbrella by burying their differences.”