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

National Film Awards 2018: Disgruntled awardees write an open letter to the President for 'breach of trust'

Indeed, the virtual boycott was an appropriate rebuff for an indefensible act, especially because the awardees had been informed that they would receive the award from the President.

The President's office is understood to be miffed with the information and broadcasting ministry for shifting the entire responsibility for the National Film Awards presentation row onto Rashtrapati Bhavan for a decision that had been conveyed to the government three weeks in advance. President Kovind has allotted only one hour for the ceremony and will present the award to 11 of the recipients. The first set of awards will be conferred by Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani and the Minister of State Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore from 4 pm. In the circumstance of not receiving a response for our grievance we are left with no option but to be absent for the ceremony.

It can be noted that over 60 national award winners "boycotted" the awards ceremony citing "disappointment" and "dejection". The committee members were asked to inform the winners that there was a need to maintain protocol and dignity of the President's office.

The second phase of the ceremony, when President Kovind presented 11 awards, was conducted with the traditional pomp and splendor associated with the event.

The 11 chosen for the president's segment included actors Vinod Khanna and Sridevi, who have been honored posthumously, and Oscar winning composer A. R. Rahman. Numerous awardees felt that this created a hierarchy in the awards and was also contrary to what their invitation had said.

Riddhi Sen, the Best Actor victor for the film "Nagarkirtan", received the honour from the President.

Filmmaker Boney Kapoor, who attended the award ceremony to accept the Best Actress award on behalf of his wife and late actress Sridevi, said he doesn't understand the fuss and would have been happy even if Irani would have given the award.

He said, Indian film industry employs 2 lakh people directly and many more indirectly.

Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film for National Integration went to Marathi film, Dhappa, while the best original screenplay isThondimuthalum Driksakshiyum. Another change this year was a group photograph of the winners with the President. In a break from tradition, Smriti Irani presented most of the awards today. "We are disheartened to know that we will be deprived of the honour of this appreciation of a once in a lifetime moment of pride and glory that the National Film Awards had promised us". "Also, the award is prestigious, I could not, in any way, disrespect it", says Shashaa, adding that her mother was "heartbroken". We felt bad because when your good office chose from the bottom of the list it was only the stars and star elements who got picked, or those 11 people could have been the young, and first-time, awardees. President's hand is our privilege, our honour and our dream!.

Actor Riddhi, the Best Actor victor for the film "Nagarkirtan", will receive the honour from the President.

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