Three Years of Awarding the Best
In this age of commercialization, like a lot of other achievements, receiving awards have become quite easy. And when grows in size and in number, people start to question its credibility. When the Daily Star and Standard Chartered Bank decided to organize Celebrating Life Contests to give awards on films, photographs and lyrics, they threw a lot of caution to the wind in order to protect the prestige of the award. The organizers would not allow Celebrating Life to become 'just another award'. Strict and difficult decisions needed to be made regarding whom to give the awards to, under what criteria and what should be its value. In 2010, they have also added a segment for Critics' Awards and Lifetime Achievement Award, further adding to the esteem value of Celebrating Life. The process of adjudication and selection of winners have completely been divorced from the organization of the contest and independent jury boards for each category have been set up to identify the real talents of Bangladesh.
Celebrating Life was not started for the sake of handing out awards. It was started to incentivize work that deserve appreciation. It was started to bring those who have something to offer as filmmakers, photographers and song writers to the limelight. For 2009 and 2010, the organizers were not able to give awards to the nominees in the film category because the jury board did not feel that they were deserving of the award. Some people who had submitted films for the competition might feel disheartened due to this; they may feel that this verdict is unfair. But, the fact is, in order to improve and reach the minimum standards; participants should be motivated to come up with better productions. Then they would feel proud of the award because they truly deserved it. If work of low standards is awarded, it not only tarnishes the intrinsic prestige of the award, but it also gives reason for those with real talent to not participate. The door is still open for them to receive the awards if they submit brilliant work. From the very beginning, the organizers have decided that ultimately, they will provide the award winner with enough support, both monetary and logistic, to produce a film. This is a rare opportunity for budding film makers, since they find it very difficult to find producers for their films. But they need to prove their abilities first. If they can prove themselves by winning the competition, they will also get a producer in the process for their films.
The members of the Jury board who judged the Lyrics section were highly appreciative of the winners of this award. They were in no sense less than professional lyricists. If they take this professionally, the jury board believes that they will go very far. Compared to the last two years, less photos were submitted for the photography competition in 2010. This might be because people did not understand this year's theme as well as in previous years. We are hopeful that in the future we will get better response in this award category.
Celebrating Life, from 2010, also includes Critics' Awards. There was a demand from those who work in the television and film industries to start an award that acknowledges the achievements of those who are on the screen and behind. This award has been specifically designed for that purpose. Those contestants, whose works are acclaimed critically, will receive this award. The response of this category has been immense. The competition was so strong and so close that the jury panel had a very hard time selecting the most deserving candidate. Young personalities such as Nurul Alam Atiq, Amitabh Reza, Mesba Ur Rahman Sumon, Joya Ahsan, Shotabdi Wadud, etc have become the Critics' Award Winners of 2010. The organizers are proud to be able to acknowledge these young talents. The organizers hope that the Critics' Award give their achievements a new meaning, and that they keep working in mainstream film and television take the sector to a whole new era.
Another award that was introduced this year were the Lifetime Achievement Awards. The Daily Star and Standard Chartered Bank are very happy to have been able to give awards to three brilliant and accomplished personalities who received the Lifetime Achievement Awards this year. The Lifetime Achievement Award in Photography was given in the name of Dr. Nowajesh Ahmed. We are very thankful to Dr. Ahmed's family for their involvement in Celebrating Life Awards.
To make a program successful, a lot of people's hard work and perseverance is needed. The organizers have been very lucky because the people who have worked for the program have supported them relentlessly. Naquib Khan has been working with Celebrating Life since it began 3 years ago. He directed music in all three years and people have really enjoyed his work. As expected, his song was widely appreciated this year as well. Dance Choreographer Minu Haque is part of the Celebrating Life family as well. Her team has enthralled the audience at Award Giving Ceremonies in all three years of Celebrating Life. The organizers congratulate her for her many achievements. Sheikh Sadi Khan, Ali Akbar Rupu and many others have been a part of the Celebrating Life family. The organizers hope that they remain part of the family as the family grows bigger and more diverse in years to come.
Last but not the least, Bitopi Das Chowdhury from Standard Chartered Bank must be mentioned, without whose relentless support this Celebrating Life would never have been so successful. The Daily Star is glad to have an organization such as Standard Chartered Bank as partner. Without patronage, art culture cannot flourish in the properly. Being a multinational company whose origins lie elsewhere, Standard Chartered Bank's efforts and contributions in enhancing Bangladeshi culture and tradition is praiseworthy. The affiliation between the two organizations will continue for years to come, and in that partnership, Celebrating Life will grow better and reach greater numbers every year.
(R) thedailystar.net 2009