Assam Chief MInister Sarbananda Sonowal (centre) takes stock of preparations at Sarusajai Stadium in Guwahati, where the 65th Filmfare Awards will be hosted on 15 February | Twitter: @sarbanandsonwal
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Bollywood and a section of social media have gone gaga over the Filmfare Awards being hosted for the first time in Assam. But the timing to shift Mumbai’s glitzy annual event to the troubled northeast couldn’t be more wrong. For the local people of Assam, it’s an eyewash.

Whether politicians and mainland media tell you or not, the fact is that all is not normal in Assam. Any observer will tell you that the decision to hold the Filmfare Awards is a ploy of the BJP government to distract the public from the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The government hopes that the wide coverage of the glitzy event will bury the voices chanting “CAA ami namanu (We won’t accept CAA).”


Also read: Filmmaker Jahnu Barua, 9 other Assam personalities criticise CAA in letter to CJI


Two months since a musician was shot dead

Assam’s BJP government had in November 2019 signed a memorandum with the Times Group, the organiser of the Filmfare Awards. Owing to the media attention and the exposure that Filmfare brings with it, the BJP government expects Assamese to suddenly become happy and overwhelmed because the government itself has forgotten the five deaths in police firing during anti-CAA agitations that rocked Assam in December 2019.

It has also forgotten 17-year old Sam Stafford, a musician who was reportedly shot point blank by Assam Police. The state witnessed internet shutdowns, curfew, and deployment of more than 300 troops. All this took place under the watch of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, the man who identifies himself as a “son of Assam” and was part of the six-year Assam Agitation where over 800 people were killed.


Also read: Army will pull forces out of internal security duties in Northeast: Gen MM Naravane


No place for Assamese culture

Assam’s culture and heritage are an integral part of the Assamese identity, the same identity that is at stake because of the CAA. Sadly, the glitzy Filmfare Awards will in no way boost Assam’s culture, its heritage and its film industry. Local artists from Assam rarely find space in the mainland cinema industry. In fact, Assam has negligible representation in Bollywood’s flashy affairs.

The promotional videos of Filmfare Awards do not have any Assamese actor in the front; they instead have B-town celebs like Bhumi Pednekar, Ayushmann Khurrana and Karishma Tanna among others. What the BJP government fails to realise is that videos of Assam’s greenery in the backdrop, with a little Bihu music and few local dancers in the back won’t suffice for the isolation of the state’s film and cultural society.

If the Assam government really wanted to provide exposure to local artists, it would have taken concrete steps to develop the state’s infrastructure. It would have tried to ensure there are better screens available to the film industry and helped indigenous artists suffering from financial constraints.


Also readModi’s CAB proves that concerns & fears of northeast people don’t matter in Indian politics


Misuse of funds and facade of promoting tourism

CM Sonowal had tweeted in August 2019 that through this star-studded event, the government will promote Assam as a global tourism destination. But is Filmfare Awards the way to do that? Bollywood celebs will come to attend the indoor event and then return to Mumbai. Their past engagements with Assam-related issues have at best been futile.

The state government spent around Rs 2.37 crore for a single visit by Priyanka Chopra, who was appointed as the ambassador of ‘Awesome Assam’ in 2016, a contract that ended in July 2019. However, one can’t but compare Chopra’s work in Ethiopia as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador and her significant lack of interest, immediate attention and empathy for the people of Assam during floods in July 2019.

For the upcoming Filmfare Awards, the Assam government has decided to spend between Rs 20-30 crore out of the Rs 300 crore state tourism budget. The rationale is not only questionable but also a portrayal of the government’s lack of vision for the state’s development. Every year, Assam incurs property loss worth crores of rupees because of floods. Thousands of people become homeless, animals die and greenery is destroyed in the erosions. With so much to work upon, it doesn’t help Assam to spend about Rs 30 crore on a private function that will bring little value to the state.

Assam lacks basic infrastructure, including sanitation, accommodation, and connectivity. The prices of the Filmfare tickets are ranged between Rs 10,000 and Rs 3 lakh, which average Assamese won’t be able to afford. It really needs to be asked then: Who is this Filmfare Awards really for?

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11 Comments Share Your Views

11 COMMENTS

  1. Okay so you’al mentioned about that guy who was shot dead by Assam Police, let me remind you that they’re performing open fire burst as the mobs were creating mass destruction in the name of protest! You all just know how to spread hatred and nothing else.

  2. Most of news outlets now a days go on gaga with the government but to see every thing with suspicion and trickery is also not wise. Don’t do nitpicking in the name of ubiased journalism.

  3. Why you people always print all kind of negative stuffs idiot….you people are the reason not giving Assam tourism to go high and let everyone know that yes Assam has the capacity….don’t pull politics everywhere morons print media…

  4. Very rightly said, this will in no way help tourism in Assam. Such tricks were used much earlier by making Priyanka Chopra, the brand ambassador. Did it help?? Assam’s Tourism will not grow as long as they do not spend those crores on actual development. Many animals die in our national parks due to flood, No government be it be BJP or Congress has worked on this front, The ASTC lacks good buses, The thing is that we spend on advertisement before anything concrete to advertise. So we should first work on the factors that affect tourism and then go for advertisement.

  5. I want to see live stars but i can’t pay this too much money… It’s not possible to me that I’ll pay… I’m hotel service staff n I’m just visited I’m my hometown only for 1 month… But…. I say from my heart that… Srry sir 😞😔 I do not want to disturb u…. N waste ur important time
    I just share my feelings n my dream 🙃 jo ki ye kabhi ni ho sakta😀

  6. i am an assamese and very happy about it..it wil boost our tourism …negative people will find negativity everywhere…..AMI CAB NEMANU ,,,JST SHOUTING WIL NOT HELP OUR TIURISM AND ECONOMY .thanks to the present government who thought about it

    • ALWAYS stamp NOTA, ALLLLLL these b…..d POLITICIANS shld b OOOOOUT,an absolute fresh lot of people shld come, existing are all rotten fishes stinking in the pond.

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