The results of the 64th National Award were announced today, April 7, 2016, and immediately sent shockwaves. This is because Akshay Kumar was given the Best Actor (Male) award for his performance in Rustom. The criticism was extreme and came from all quarters. Did this performance deserve a National Award? Did he give the best performance of the year and was nobody better than him? More on these questions later! The bigger question that bothered everyone was: How come Akshay Kumar, who is now a Canadian citizen, bagged a National Award?
Well, to win a National Award, the person in question need not necessarily be an Indian. The film should have originated in India and that’s what matters. Rustom is a Hindi film produced in India. Whether or not Akshay is Indian is secondary. 3 years ago, during the 61st National Award, the award for the Best Actress in a Supporting Role was given to Aida El-Kashef for her performance in Ship Of Theseus. Aida hails from Egypt. Hence, if she can win, so can Akshay.
With this part of the controversy being solved, let’s look at the other aspects. Akshay’s performance in Rustom was great but far from being award-worthy. In fact, Akshay Kumar gave a much better performance in Airlift, which also released last year. Secondly, Akshay is seen as a huge supporter of the ruling NDA government, particularly the BJP. In 2015, when award-wapsi was in vogue, he was among the first one to make it clear that there’s no intolerance in the country. He has put videos where he has praised the work of the army and indirectly criticized those who talk ill about the soldiers and the government. His next release, Toilet – Ek Prem Katha, promotes the ‘Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan’ spearheaded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Not to forget, 2016 is the same year in which Aamir Khan and Salman Khan rocked with their respective performances in Dangal and Sultan. Both these performances were immensely loved and were unanimously hailed as one of the most accomplished performances of their careers. That they didn’t win but Akshay won is definitely quite astonishing. A lot of people therefore believe that Akshay’s victory at the National Awards is due to his fondness for the current government and their policies and not necessarily because of his performance in Rustom.
Do let us know what do you think about this controversy in the comments section below!