The charm of winning a National Film Award lies in being conferred upon by the President himself. So, it comes as no surprise that the most prestigious and awaited award ceremony faced boycott, for the first time since its inception. The 65th National Filmfare Awards, found itself in the midst of a firing controversy, when over 60 awardees were informed at the 11th hour about the President, Shree Ramnath Kovind’s inability to present trophies to all the awardees, and that he would present trophies to only 11 category winners.Taken place yesterday at New Delhi’s Vigyan Bhawan, out of 137 awardees, about 68 National Film Award winners boycotted the ceremony.
Terming this diversion as “breaking the tradition”, All these artistes from across the country have written a letter addressed to the Directorate of Film Festival, Office of the President of India and the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to express their disappointment. According to the tradition, the president honours the recipients of the award by handing over the trophy every year, but since President Kovind had a tight schedule, it has said that he has a tight schedule, and so, the rest of the awards will be presented by Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani.
Reacting to the “disrespect”, The letter emoted as “It feels like a breach of trust when an institution/ceremony that abides by extreme protocol fails to inform us of such a vital aspect of the ceremony with a prior notice. It seems unfortunate that 65 years of tradition are being overturned in a jiffy. “In the circumstances of not receiving a response for our grievance we are left with no option but to be absent for the ceremony. We do not intend to boycott the award but are not attending the ceremony to convey our discontent and are awaiting a more just solution,” the letter read.
Oscar-winning sound artiste Resul Pookutty also expressed his disappointment. ” 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!”
Defending the flak, Ashok Malik, press secretary to the president, said, “President attends all award functions and convocations for a maximum of one hour. This has been the protocol since he took office. It was conveyed to Information and Broadcasting Ministry several weeks ago and the ministry knew this all along. Rashtrapati Bhavan is surprised by the 11th hour questions that have been raised,”
Here is the list of the lucky 11 people are were honoured by the president :
- 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)
Sir, these artiste have toiled all the year round just to be able to stand facing you and to feel the pride in in recieving the honours from your hands….Was it too much to ask to give them their due?
May the Awards redeem their lost faith and prestige in the eyes of the artistes…It does after all hold its esteem and pride by virtue of the President’s presence!