National Film Award winners miffed over ceremony

07 May, 2018, 15:11 | Author: Ann Santiago
  • INDIA-PRESIDENT

The announcement that President Ram Nath Kovind would hand out the National Film Awards to only 11 of this year's 137 winners during the "one hour" earmarked for the ceremony not only prompted over 50 artistes to boycott the event, but also set off a firestorm of criticism.

Information and broadcasting ministry officials maintain they had been informed of the new presidential protocol only a couple of days before the awards programme, by which time the invitations had been sent out.

In a break from tradition, Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani and her junior minister Rajyavardhan Rathore presented most of the awards.

"One of the reason the National Film Awards are prestigious is because they are handed by the @rashtrapatibhvn -not a minister".

I have had the honour of attending four National Film Awards - once as an award victor, and thrice on the National Film Award Jury, in 2008, 2011 and 2014. I was at the Berlin Film Festival when I was swiftly summoned to New Delhi, so my parents Indu Shedde and S Rammohan went to New Delhi, and my mother received the National Award on my behalf from President KR Narayanan.

The 65 National Film Awards was surrounded with controversies as over 60 awardees had skipped the event.

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The late actor, Vinod Khanna's family is going to receive the Dadasaheb Phalke award which is India's highest film honor, for him at the ceremony.

While the singer changed her mind and attended the ceremony, she says she has vast respect for those who boycotted it.

In her address, Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani said, almost two thousand films were released in India a year ago.

"The President attends all award functions and convocations for a maximum of one hour". However, the question many were left with after this edition of the ceremony, is why all the winners were not felicitated by the President. "In a way, I am glad that she gave the award to me". He would get exhausted standing, his feet and hands would hurt, he'd take a break and continue giving out the awards to the recipients right to the end.

"Our problem is that they chose to tell us at the last minute". Though much of the blame is being pinned on I&B Secretary N K Sinha, sources said nothing much might be done because he is retiring on May 31.

Utpal Borpujari, whose debut feature film Ishu (2017) won the Best Assamese Film award, collected the award at the ceremony but also showed his support to the protesting filmmakers. Bahubali 2 also got the award for special effects. Names of more than 30 protesting artists including Malayalam Actor Fahad Faasil, who won Best Supporting Award for the film Thondimuthalum Driksaksiyum and Malayalam Actress Parvarthy, who won Special Mention for her film, Take Off, weren't even announced. "It took us a lot of time to process what had actually happened".

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