65th National Film Awards: Smriti Irani felicitates winners, 65 awardees skip event
May 04, 2018, 00:46
Numerous 140 National Film Award winners are contemplating skipping the prestigious ceremony scheduled for Thursday evening, as President Ram Nath Kovind has conveyed that he will attend the ceremony for just an hour.
Rashtrapati Bhavan, too, seems to have been taken by surprise by the break in tradition and the President's role being cut in the award-giving ceremony.
The artistes have conveyed this to Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani and President's office as well. "It was conveyed to Information and Broadcasting Ministry several weeks ago and the ministry knew this all along", saidAshok Malik, press secretary to the president.
A letter written by the recipients to Chaitanya Prasad, additional director general of the Directorate of Film Festivals, specified that their move did not constitute a "boycott", but was merely an expression of their disappointment over the President's decision. He took to Twitter and wrote, "It is unfortunate Hon'ble President of India has not been able to find time to present ALL National Film Awards that show Case India's creativity, performing Arts& Soft Power". In a break from tradition, Smriti Irani presented most of the awards today. And now have been reduced to "just an award" discriminating as well between the 11 and the rest.
The controversy triggered a debate about whether the president should be present at all convocations, award ceremonies from the beginning to the end.
Director Hansal Mehta, who won the National Film Award for Best Direction for Shahid in 2014, told The Indian Express that this was not only disappointing but also humiliating and unfair to the winners.
"We haven't boycotted the event or refused to receive the award".
Many actors are offended by the thought of not receiving a national award by the president. Speaking after presenting the main awards including the Dada Saheb Phalke award for late Vinod Khanna and Best Actress award for Sridevi, he said India was gaining traction as a film-making destination and the best is yet to come. "Not to undermine any minister but it's the biggest recognition that an artiste gets from his or her nation and it's given by the president", Mehta said.
"The letter added, ". we are left with no option but to be absent for the ceremony. They are not called the President's National Awards for no reason.
Sambit Mohanty also won the award for the best dialogue posthumously.
The 65th National Film Awards were announced on April 13 by the I&B ministry. In his speech at the ceremony, Presiednt Kovind said that Sridevi and Vinod Khanna will be remembered forever.
"The National Film Awards unlike other Award ceremony has been considered as the most pristine and unbiased. But contemplating skipping the ceremony does not mean refusing the award in any way", one of the filmmakers quoted above said.
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