Thursday, September 16, 2010

Why Ambika Soni did not announce Amitabh PAA

In an interesting turn of events, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting 
Ambika Soni decided not to announce the 57th National Awards for films,
 though it is customary for the minister to do the honours, considering the 
prestige attached to the awards and the fact that it is the President of India 
who gives away the awards.Renu Mittal a senior journalist in her despatch
also concurred with this view she wrote much more details.

Instead, she directed the Director General of Films S M Khan to make 
the announcement, which he did.

Highly placed sources in the ministry disclosed that the reason was very
 simple. Since Amitabh Bachchan [ Images ] had been handpicked by the 
jury to receive the Best Actor Award for the popular Bollywood film Paa, 
and the announcement would have to be made by the minister, 
she is learnt to have opted out of the entire press conference to 
ensure that she did not get into any controversy or that she could 
not be blamed later for the awards.

Amitabh Bachchan has been persona non grata with 10 Janpath
 and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi 
 for some years now, 
and consequently the Congress party has also been wary of 
associating itself with the actor.
There have been controversies regarding Bachchan during the
 time when Priya Ranjan Das Munshi was the I&B minister. 
The actor had been invited to be the chief guest at the
 International Film Festival in Goa [ Images ], but after
sections of the Conngress created a ruckus, the
 invitation to Bachchan was withdrawn by the
 ministry, leaving a lot of red faces in its wake.

Amitabh and his wife Jaya Bachchan's association with Amar Singh 
 and the Samajwadi Party had only added fuel to the fire, with Amar 
Singh not missing a chance to keep prompting the Bachchans 
against Sonia Gandhi.

But of late there has been a falling out between the Bachchans 
and Amar Singh with the latter having been thrown out of the 
Samajwadi Party, but the Congress unwilling to find a safe 
refuge in the party for him.

But that has so far not impacted the relations between the 
first family of Bollywood and the first family of politics.

A ministry sources said that with the jury functioning independently 
and taking its own decisions on who should be awarded and for 
which film, neither the minister nor the ministry comes into the picture.

But the ever cautious Ambika Soni, who has had her fingers burnt a 
few times in the past, probably decided to err on the side of caution 
and decided to keep far away from the announcement, honouring 
Bachchan for the third time with the best actor award.

Not a mean feat by any standards!

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