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An award in a different genre

As awards go, this one is different. For one, it comes after a long gap of 52 years. And that too for an industry that produces nearly 800 works every year. But then the Western India Cinematographers Association's (WICA) search for eminent film-makers who have contributed to Indian cinema in a big way has finally come to an end.

This past Sunday saw eminent film-maker Mike Pandey and K.K. Mahajan receive the award for cinematographic excellence from Bollywood legend Dev Anand. Given in the past to legends like Nargis Dutt and Raj Kapoor, the award is conferred on people who have contributed to Indian cinema and brought it at par with international cinema standards.

Described as a global trailblazer by WICA, Mike Pandey's role in helping bring about international legislation and create awareness about environment conservation and heritage is well known. Recipient of 172 national and international awards including three Green Oscars and the Prithvi Ratna, his works have over the past three decades helped keep the issue of conserving environment alive through documentaries.

The winner of four national awards for cinematography and many other national and international accolades, Mahajan has over 80 features films, 100 ads and 20 documentaries to his credit. Having trained at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune, Mahajan had set new landmarks with his work in films like Mrinal Sen's "Bhuvan Shome'', ``Sara Akash'', ``Ek Din Achanak'', ``Uski Roti'' and even a mainstream film like ``Kalicharan''.

For Pandey, his trip to Mumbai was a nostalgic one. "The most beautiful thing was that the last award was given to Raj Kapoor and Nargis. And to be in the same club as such legends is a great honour. Also, since I was in Mumbai after such a long time I met a lot of my old friends, which made the experience even better,'' says the director. -- Lakshmi B. Ghosh

-- Lakshmi B. Ghosh

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