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    Sep 2011


    Default Nagma loses award of a lifetime to Sharmila Tagore

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    The curious case of the film festival that wanted to award the actress for her 'contribution to cinema', but opted for Tagore instead

    Reality is an award denied. And actress Nagma got a taste of it and more when organisers of the Jaipur International Film Festival (JIFF) promised to laud her for her 'contribution to Indian cinema' but reneged on it. Apparently, they decided to bestow the honour on Sharmila Tagore at the last moment. An angry Nagma posted on social networking sites:

    "Surprised and disgruntled with the way the jaipur international festival operates, few months since they confirmed my life time achievement award wth me and hv requested me to accept it as it was decided by their Jury, hv their emails for the they suddenly decide on last min to gv it to sharmila tagore. rigged! I guess one award attracts the others! Here's wishing sharmilaji congratulations for the same."

    When TOI got in touch with the 39-year-old actress, she recounted her 'tragic' story with touching naivete. According to her, on January 14, organisers of JIFF wrote to her saying that their jury had selected her as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. One wonders, if Nagma was aware that Jaya Bachchan and Asha Parekh were the previous winners of this award.

    Nagma, who after a short stint in Bollywood enjoyed a successful run in Tamil, Telugu and Bhojpuri films, claims the organisers made a very strong case for their 'recognition'. "I thought I was too young for the award, but they convinced me. They said I had been selected because of my contribution to Indian cinema," said Nagma, adding that she sent her consent by SMS and email.

    The festival commences on January 30, and she began preparing for her trip. Strangely enough, the organisers had disappeared. "They never wrote back to me. I was shocked at their behaviour. On Monday one of my friends told me that they had decided to give the award to Sharmila Tagore instead," says the evidently bitter actress, adding, "I have no qualms about Sharmilaji receiving the award but I am shocked at the way they decided to strike me off the list because they managed to get her on board. How come the jury's decision was changed at the last moment?"

    When TOI got in touch with the organisers of JIFF, they didn't deny that Nagma had been invited to receive the award and had been replaced at the last minute.

    "We did send her an invite but she did not respond to the invite properly," said Hanuman Chaudhary alias Hanu Roj, director of JIFF, adding, "We thought she is not interested in the award so we scrapped her name."

    When asked why Nagma was dropped and the jury's decision overruled, Hanu said, "We have scrapped the entire category in which she has been selected. Sharmilaji is getting the award for another category. We are sorry if Nagma is feeling bad about it."

    Incidentally, the JIFF website says: Actress Sharmila Tagore, who has created an honourable space for herself through her extra ordinary acting talent, is being honoured this year with JIFF's Third Life Time Achievement Award.



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