National Film Awards Row: 70 Awardees Boycott The Ceremony
The 65th National Film award ceremony was organised on May 3. The ceremony was held to honour a total of 137 recipients. From the past 64 years the awardees were being felicitated by the President, and this year too, the email sent across to the recipients said that the President would present it. However, there was a significant last-minute change that caused disappointment among the recipients. The awardees were informed in the dress rehearsal that that only 11 awards would be handed over by the President and the remaining awards would be presented by the Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting (I&B), Smriti Irani. Many of the awardees were deeply disheartened by this sudden development and 70 of them jointly signed a petition saying that they would not attend the ceremony after the changes were made.
Parting from the tradition of last 64 years, on Thursday, President Ram Nath Kovind presented awards to 11 selected recipients. Many of the other awardees were absent from the ceremony and the ones who attended were handed over their awards by the Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting (I&B), Smriti Irani, Minister of State for I&B Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and the I&B ministry’s secretary Narendra Kumar Sinha.
Academy Award winner for Slumdog Millionaire, Resul Pookutty shared a tweet Post to share his displeasure with the government treatment to the National Award Winners.
If the Govt.Of India cannot earmark three houres if it’s time, they should not bother us giving us #NationalAward. More than 50%of our sweat you take it as entertainment tax,the least you could do is respect the values we hold dear!
— resul pookutty (@resulp) May 3, 2018
One of the National Award Winners, Film Director, Rahul Dholakia writes in a tweet that National Award is prestigious because it is facilitated by The President and not any minister.
one of the reason the National Film Awards are prestigious is because they are handed by the @rashtrapatibhvn -not a minister. This is a moment of a lifetime for Film makers ; please don’t deprive them of their merit / glory #NationalFilmAwards @smritiirani @Ra_THORe
— rahul dholakia (@rahuldholakia) May 3, 2018
According to the sources the signatories include noted singer KJ Yesudas, best playback singer of the year, Bengali filmmaker Kaushik Ganguly, and the winner of best-supporting actor award, Fahadh Fasil.
Commenting on the row, Rashtrapati Bhavan expressed surprise and said that information about the schedule was communicated to the ministry weeks ago. It also added that President can’t be present for any such event for more than one hour as per the protocol.
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