The Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival 2023 was held in Mumbai recently, in which Varun Dhawan, Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Rishabh Shetty, and the movie, The Kashmir Files, film were awarded in different categories.
Vivek Agnihotri, the director of the controversial film, tweeted that The Kashmir Files has received the best film award at the Dadasaheb Phalke Awards 2023. Vivek Agnihotri also used the hashtag #DadaSahebPhalkeAwards2023 in this tweet. This created confusion among netizens regarding the Dadasaheb Phalke Award.
Several media outlets and social media users also pointed out that The Kashmir Files had received the Dadasaheb Phalke Award. However, it is worth noting here that the Dadasaheb Phalke Award and Dadasaheb International Film Festival Award are two different awards.
ANNOUNCEMENT:#TheKashmirFiles wins the ‘Best Film’ award at #DadaSahebPhalkeAwards2023. “This award is dedicated to all the victims of terrorism and to all the people of India for your blessings.” pic.twitter.com/MdwikOiL44— Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri (@vivekagnihotri) February 21, 2023
Difference between the two awards
The biggest difference between the Dadasaheb Phalke Award and the awards handed out by private organizations in his name is that the Dadasaheb Phalke Award does not have different categories like best film, best actor, best actress, etc. The Dadasaheb Phalke Award is given annually to only one individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the Indian film industry.
Dadasaheb Phalke Award
The Dadasaheb Phalke Award is the highest honour in the field of Indian cinema. The award was instituted by the Indian government in 1969 in the name of Dadasaheb Phalke, who directed India's first full-length feature film Raja Harishchandra (1913), and is considered the father of Indian cinema for his outstanding contribution to the field. This honour is given at the National Film Awards ceremony held by the ministry of information and broadcasting’s directorate of film festivals. The awardee is selected by a committee consisting of eminent personalities from the Indian film industry. In this respect, a Swarna Kamal (Golden Lotus) medal, a shawl and a cash prize of Rs. 10 lahks are awarded to the winner. The most recent Dadasaheb Phalke Award was given to Indian actress, film director, and producer Asha Parekh in 2020. (The award was handed over to her only in 2022 because of the pandemic).
Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Awards
According to its official website, the Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival (DPIFF) is an independent film festival held by a private organization. It was established in 2012 and launched in 2016 to carry forward the legacy of Dadasaheb Phalke, the father of Indian cinema. Anil Mishra is the founder and director of this film festival. Mishra is also a member of the advisory panel of the central board of film certification (CBFC) under the ministry of information and broadcasting. Awards are handed out in several categories, including best film, best actor, best actress, best director, best short film, etc.
Many people confuse the two because of the similarity in the names. In the context of the present confusion, film researcher and critic Brahmatmaj tweeted that this award is being seen as an equivalent to the Dadasaheb Phalke Award given by the Government of India and the Indian government must take action in this regard.
मजेदार और कड़वी सच्चाई है कि दादा साहब फाल्के के नाम से जारी यह अवार्ड फिल्म बिरादरी के कतिपय सदस्यों द्वारा भारत सरकार द्वारा दिए जाने वाले दादा साहब फाल्के अवार्ड के समकक्ष देखा जाने लगा है। भारत सरकार और सूचना प्रसारण मंत्रालय से मेरा आग्रह है कि इसे यथाशीघ्र बंद किया जाए। pic.twitter.com/G5xoIQRa5o— MrB (@brahmatmajay) February 21, 2023
'Award given against money': Phalke's grandson
Speaking to Amar Ujala in 2022, Dadasaheb Phalke's grandson Chandrashekhar Pusalkar had said that a number of people invited him to be a special guest at the Dadasaheb Phalke Awards ceremony in Mumbai. He said that this award was being given in exchange for money to those who did not deserve it. Along with this, he also revealed that he once got a call from a famous Marathi actress who came across an organizer of the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in America demanding one million for the award.
In the interview, Pusalkar also objected to the use of the name Dadasaheb Phalke Award by a private organization. He said it was disappointing to see people running businesses in the name of Dadasaheb Phalke. He added that it was sad to see that on the one hand, someone like Amitabh Bachchan was honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, while on the other, anyone could pay some money and walk away with an award that has a similar name.
It is worth noting that there are many awards in the name of Dadasaheb Phalke. These include the Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival Awards, Dadasaheb Phalke Film Foundation Awards, Dadasaheb Phalke Excellence Awards, Dadasaheb Phalke Academy Awards, etc.
Awards handed out in Dadasaheb’s name have been mired in controversy previously as well. BJP leader Vani Tripathi Tikoo, a former member of the CBFC, wrote in a 2018 tweet that there was only one 'Dadasaheb Phalke' award instituted by the ministry of information and broadcasting> he described the use of the same name by any other party a gross violation of the prestigious award.
Talking to the Hindustan Times, Tikoo stated that this was an insult to one of the highest, prestigious and most celebrated awards by the Government of India and the ministry of information and broadcasting. Expressing concern over the matter, she wondered what would happen if the same thing happened with the Padma Bhushan or Bharat Ratna awards.
To know the stance of the ministry of information and broadcasting on this issue, the Hindustan Times reached out to Ashok Kumar Parmar, joint secretary (films). Parmar said, “You can't stop them, because they aren't copying the name at all. They organize these ceremonies by distorting the name. It depends on the people invited whether they want to participate in such programs or not.”
To sum it up, there is a big difference between the Dadasaheb Phalke Award and the Dadasaheb International Film Festival Awards. Vivek Agnihotri claimed that The Kashmir Files was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, using a misleading hashtag in his tweet, causing confusion on social media. In reality, The Kashmir Files has been awarded the best film award at the Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival Awards 2023, an independent film festival held by a private organisation.