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Assam's artists and intellectuals oppose Filmfare awards, say 'not the right time'

At a press conference in the capital Guwahati last week, prominent artists, including director Jahnu Barua, criticized the state government for promoting a private awards show at a time when the state is in the grip of tensions.

Our Correspondent

Continuing their strong opposition to the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), a number of leading artists and intellectuals from Assam have protested against the state government's decision to hold this year's Filmfare awards in the state.

The assembled artists stated that this is "not the right time" to hold such an event in the state. 

The Assam Tribune newspaper reported last week that the appeal was made and signed by senior advocate Arup Borbora, Dr Hiren Gohain, Ajit Kumar Bhuyan, Manjit Mahanta, Haidor Hussain, Zerifa Wahid, Ravi Sarma, Bhupen Uzir, Santa Uzir, Namita Bhattacharya, Pulak Banerji, JP Das, Dulal Roy, Prithviraj Rabha and others.

At a press conference at the Guwahati Press Club last Tuesday, actor Ravi Sarma said, "A few days ago, we went through a massive protest against the act. Even today, a mass movement is underway. So, it is not the right time to organize such a mega event in the state." 

Speaking on telephone, National award-winning filmmaker Jahnu Barua criticized the state government for spending public money to favour a private organization.

Criticizing the government's decision, actress Zerifa Wahid is reported to have said, "The government said that through the awards function, they are going to promote the Assamese tourism industry. But, in Assam, the tourism industry lacks proper infrastructure. So, the state will not benefit from the event.”

In November last year, the state government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with The Times of India Group of Publications, which publishes Filmfare magazine and hosts the annual awards nite. The agreement stated that Assam will host the Filmfare awards for the first time. 

The company also released several videos recently promoting the upcoming awards show. Bhumi Pednekar and Ayushmann Khurrana were among the stars who have participated in these promotional videos. 

Since December 2019, Assam has been caught up in a wave of anti-CAA protests. The state was among the first places where protests erupted. The FIlmfare awards are set to take place in Guwahati on 15 February.

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