The High Court of Karnataka has stayed the Karnataka State Film Awards for the year 2010-11. The award committee headed by veteran actress Dr Bharathi Vishnuvardhan had adjudged Puneeth and Kalyani, the best actor and actress for their performances in the films Prithvi and Kalyani respectively.
The awards were surrounded by controversies, when actress-director Priya Hassan moved the High Court against the committee’s decision. Earlier Justice Mohan Shantanagowda had issued a notice to the Government of Karnataka and the Information Department to stop further proceedings until a final verdict was given in this regard.
Priya had said in her petition that transparency was not maintained in the committee and the awards were given to undeserving candidates. To back her words there were examples like Ashok Kashyap who is the cameraman of the film Super was in the committee and incidentally it won the first best film award. Even, Hema Chaudhary who had acted in the film Sogasugara was a member of the committee. There is a rule that people who are associated with any films nominated for awards must not be part of the jury, yet Ashok Kashyap and Hema Chaudhary were in the committee.
Another major flaw that Priya has pointed to the Court was that the special jury award was given to actress Ayesha. Another rule in the award manual says that outsiders must not be given awards and local talents must be given full preference. Bindaas Hudugi which had Priya Hassan in lead role was also in the fray. Priya was not only an actress in the film but the director, producer and story-screen writer for that film. So, Priya had raised an objection stating that she should have been given an award and not Ayesha. Moreover, Ayesha’s name was announced at the last minute and her name was not even on the list which was duly signed by the selection committee.
Taking all this in to consideration, the High Court has issued a stay on the awards.