Amid Controversy, 65th National Film Awards Presented At Vigyan Bhawan

President

The segregation they indulged in, setting apart only 11 awards to be personally presented by President Ram Nath Kovind with the others in almost 60 categories to be handed out by Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani and her deputy Rajyavardhan Rathore was discriminatory and insulting to those who were left out of the list of awardees handed out the award by the President. A last-minute petition was signed by the awardees, especially from the Bengal film industry, when they became aware of the fact that the President will honour only eleven of the winners. In response, the Rashtrapati Bhavan attempted to justify the change by issuing a statement that said, "The President attends the award functions and convocation maximum for one hour".

Amidst controversy, the 65th National Film Awards ceremony was held at the Vigyan Bhavan on Thursday where Union Ministers Smriti Irani and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore facilitated the winners. Those who did receive the awards from the President included Boney Kapoor, who received the award on behalf of his late wife, Sridevi; Akshay Khanna, who received it on behalf of his father, the late Vinod Khanna; and the Bengali actor Riddhi Sen.

The office of the President of India has conveyed its "unhappiness" to the Prime Minister's Office at the manner in which President Ram Nath Kovind's name was "unnecessarily" dragged into a controversy over the National Awards, Hindustan Times reported. "Getting the National Award from the President of India is a huge honour". Now, a majority of them have written an open letter to the President regarding the same.

Samarth Mahajan, who won the award for best on-location sound (non-feature) category for the film The Unreserved, said: "We are not rejecting the award, but skipping the ceremony because it is not being done the way it has been traditionally done in the last 64 years".

We write to you collectively as film makers and artists from various states across our country. "We miss them today, and we will miss them forever".




It can be noted that over 60 national award winners "boycotted" the awards ceremony citing "disappointment" and "dejection". Asked who decided how many awards would the President give the Ministry's spokesperson said: "The Ministry of I&B does not comment on decisions taken by the Hon'ble President's Office". It doesn't make any difference whether the award is presented by President or Minister.

Unfortunately, Joshi, Irani and the I&B Ministry are turning a blind eye towards how they have belittled the sanctity of India's most prestigious film awards.

"Our families have come here to see us get the award". As for the invite, it says President will be there at 5.30 pm, which he was.

"When your good office had given time to hand over the National Award to only 11 members out of the 125, it is those smallest people in the whole spectrum got sidelined!" He went on to add that those who boycotted the event should return the cash award that was deposited into their accounts.

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