Amidst Controversy, President Distributed 65th National Film Awards

President's Role Cut Short National Film Award Winners May Skip Event

President's Role Cut Short National Film Award Winners May Skip Event

New Delhi, May 3 Over 60 National Film Awards recipients have made a decision to not attend the award distribution ceremony here on Thursday as President Ram Nath Kovind will be giving away only 11 awards, breaking from a long-held tradition, which they have condemned it as a "breach of trust".

It all started a day before the awards, when during the dress rehearsal, the winners were informed that the President will be attending the event for an hour and give away awards to only 11 winners out of 137.

Meanwhile it was said that the President will be conferring the awards to only 11 awardees and the rest will be handed over by I&B Minister Smriti Irani who herself is a former awardee. Boney Kapoor, Jhanvi Kapoor and Khushi Kapoor accepted the award on behalf of Sridevi.

"We are the first ones to be called for any award ceremony and get edited out when it gets aired on TV".

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. "Tolet" directed by Chezhian was named the best Tamil movie, AR Rahman bagging two National Awards and Shashaa Tripathi for best Tamil singer.

In her reaction, Prakruti Mishra said: "It is a matter of pride for me to receive National Film Award. Something that has been happening for 64 years.", says Shashaa.

"In the circumstance of not receiving a response for our grievance, we are left with no option but to be absent for the ceremony. If an award is an award, you can send it by post".

At the end of the day the prestige lies in the value of the award, not in who hands it out. "I don't think we should belittle the awards", he told IANS, adding, however, that he did understand the emotion behind the protest.

Sources at the Rashtrapati Bhavan told India Today that the President's office had conveyed several weeks in advance to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting ministry about the change in protocol and that the President would attend the ceremony for only an hour.

In the wake of the controversy, the film industry has been delving into its collective memory for a precedent for what happened on Thursday, where some awards were given by the President and the majority by the minister. The National Award is our nation's highest recognition, being recognized at Hon. In the letter we received, we were told that the President will give us the award.

"I mean the point is with the expectation we all went for the awards that it'll be presented by the President".

The artists who stayed back at the Ashok Hotel rather than participate in the "glamour show" at Vigyan Bhawan contend that theirs' was no "boycott" and no insult was meant to the office of the President of India nor, personally, to Mr Ram Nath Kovind.

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