Over 70 National Film Award Winners To Skip Event, As President Kovind To Present Only 11 Awards

News World India | 0
| May 3 , 2018 , 15:11 IST

More than 70 winners of the 65th National Film Awards will reportedly be skipping the award presentation event on Thursday after they were informed on Wednesday that only 11 awards would be presented by President Ram Nath Kovind himself.

According to reports, the awardees were told during the dress rehearsal of the ceremony on Wednesday that only 11 awards would be presented by President Kovind. The remaining awards would be handed over by Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Smriti Irani, Minister of State I&B Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, and the I&B ministry's secretary Narendra Kumar Sinha.

The President would arrive after most of the awards were handed out, present 11 awards and then have a photo-op with winners in groups of 45.

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The award recipients who had flown to New Delhi specially for the award ceremony, some bringing along guests as well, protested the discrimination in the presentation of the awards as well as being informed of the presentation pattern at the last minute.

“It was extremely disrespectful on the part of the organisers to treat the awardees this way. We were informed that we would receive the awards from the President himself, and we have brought our family members with us for the ceremony. But it was only this evening that we were told that only 11 awardees will receive them directly from the President,” a filmmaker said anonymously to The Print.

I&B Minister Smriti Irani claimed that they had been allocated only 1 hour of the President's time and they were managing accordingly.

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As controversy increased about the National Film Awards, Ashok Malik, press secretary to the President said that President Kovind since assuming office in July 2017 has attended all award ceremonies for 1 hour or less and that the same had been conveyed to the I&B Ministry.

“In all the award ceremonies he has attended, he gives away major awards, and takes photographs with all awardees. That has been the standard practice, which has been conveyed to the organisers well in advance,” Malik said in a statement.

The protesting 65th National Film Award expressed their concerns and disappointment in a letter to the Director General of Directorate of Film Festivals Chaitanya Prasad:

The awards to be presented by President Kovind are:

Best Actress: Sridevi, Mom

Dadasaheb Phalke Award: Vinod Khanna

Best Direction: Jayaraj, Bhayanakam (Malayalam)

Best Feature Film: Village Rockstars (Assamese) + Best Editing: Village Rockstars

Best Jasari film: Sinjar

Best Male Playback Singer: KJ Yesudas, “Poy Maranja Kalam” Viswasapoorvam Mansoor (Malayalam)

Best Music Direction (Songs): AR Rahman, Kaatru Veliyidai (Tamil)

Best Music Direction (Background score): Mom

Best Actor: Riddhi Sen, Nagarkirtan (Bengali)

Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration: Dhappa (Marathi)

Best Book on Cinema: Matamgi Manipur – The First Manipuri Feature Film (English)