Village of Widows bags ITA Award .

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Ashoke Pandits "Village of Widows" bagged the Indian Television Academy Award for the Best Documentary
Mumbai(India) October 31 2010

Documentary film, Village of Widows produced by Madhur Bhandarkar and directed by Ashoke Pandit bagged the Indian Television Academy Award for the Best Documentary at the 10th Indian Television Academy Awards held at Bhavan’s Cultural Ground in Andheri.

The Academy celebrated the 10th year of its crowing glory, ‘The ITA Awards’ with rare razzle-dazzle. The Awards, today, are regarded the most coveted stamp of merit in the medium as well as an annul festival of joy for the entire TV-fraternity in which its who’s who participates along with other glitterati from the world of Films, Corporate and Public-life. This year, the entries from the Channels and Production-houses touched a historic upwards of two and a half thousand. That proved, if ever one was needed, the total trust of the industry in the Awards. Not only this, the TV-watchers at large also hold the Awards in implicit trust as was evident by the nearly 5,50,000 votes polled in the polling for the ‘Popular’ segment. The teeming thousands that gathered at the evening were witness to a splendorous event in which the TV’s Bests of the year were conferred The ITA Awards.

Ashoke Pandits film was in trouble with the censor board. The censor officials had raised their eyebrows on two major important portions of the film. Filmmaker Pandit was enraged with the Central Board Of Film Certification. Reason: They have asked for cuts in his documentary, Village Of Widows. Pandit informs that the two sequences that he has been asked to delete from his documentary, produced by Madhur Bhandarkar, are late Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto delivering an anti-India speech propagating terrorism in Kashmir against India and the Indian flag shown burning.

(Initial 30 secs. are blank intentionally)
Produced by - Bhandarkar Entertainment
Directed by - Ashoke Pandit.
“Benazir Bhuto’s speech is taken from the actual recording which has been telecast by news channels years ago. The National Flag was burnt there at that time, so we’ve incorporated that footage too. I don’t understand what issue the Censor Board has with the footage,” rues Pandit, also a Kashmiri, who has been following up on terrorism issue back home for years.

“I want to highlight the problem from a woman’s perspective. In the Kupwara district, there’s a village called Dardpura, inhabited by women and orphans only. There’s not a single man because the women are widows of terrorists,” Pandit informs.

He reiterates that he only wants to focus on how women look at terrorism and how they suffer for no fault of their own. “Some of the widows are wives of policemen who died in terrorist encounters. The government is doing nothing for them. Left with no choice, they are forced into prostitution. As a filmmaker, I’m trying to bring their plight to the surface,” says Pandit adding that making the documentary has not been easy since the territory is infested with terrorists. “My crew members risked their lives to shoot the documentary.”

Attributing the non-cooperation to bureaucratic attitude of the Censor Board, Pandit says, “They need to act with maturity and understand that we’re trying to take a stand against terrorism. Madhur has also assured me that he will meet top leaders, if possible even Sonia and Rahul Gandhi and resolve matters.”

Refusing to incorporate the cuts, Ashoke Pandit had approached the Appellate Tribunal against the revised committee’s decision.
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Congratulations Ashok Ji. You are a talented filmmaker and the community is proud of you.
Added By Arun Koul