60 winners abstain from National Film Awards over presentation row

Erika Holt
May 5, 2018

The President, Shri Ram Nath Kovind addressing at the 65th National Film Awards Function, in New Delhi on May 03, 2018.

Usually, it is the President who gives away all the awards in the ceremony, so Ram Nath Kovind's decision to stay only for a short duration of the ceremony has not pleased many.

Talking to ANI, Oak said, "We feel insulted, 75 awardees are threatening to boycott the award ceremony today".

An official statement from the Rashtrapati Bhavan expressed "surprise" at the "11th hour questions", saying that the President attends all award functions for a maximum of one hour, and that this was conveyed to the I&B Ministry days in advance. This has been the protocol since he took office (August 2017). The cash award was deposited in their respective bank accounts on Thursday, a few hours after they wrote to the President and I&B Ministry to convey their disappointment over the change in tradition. "It is a clear departure from the tradition", a National Award victor told PTI. Prior to the awards ceremony, Pankaj got talking with indianexpress.com and shared why winning awards have become important to him now. Her husband Boney Kapoor and daughters Janhavi and Khushi received the award from the President.

Producer of best Hindi film victor, "Newton", Manish Mundra, who earlier expressed his disappointment on Twitter over the controversy, did a turnaround as he eventually showed up at the ceremony.

Oscar-winning sound artist Resul Pookutty said if the government can not earmark three hours, it should not bother giving the awards. They stated, if people think an award is just an award and nothing bigger than that then we do not need a ceremony for it, it can be sent via posts to the respective.

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Veteran actor Sridevi, who passed away recently was honoured with the Best Actress award for her performance in "Mom". Even if there was no cash award, the sanctity of the national award lies in the fact that it is the President's award.

The prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award - the country's highest cinema honour - was given posthumously to Vinod Khanna, whose wife Kavita Khanna and son Akshaye Khanna received it.

Actor-director Joy Mathew has come to the fore severely criticising the Malayalee stars who boycotted the National Awards function. "And it takes a minute for the President to present the award". Had the invitation not mentioned that the awards would be conferred by the President, there would have been no breach of trust and no impropriety.

The National Film Awards, unlike other awards ceremonies, has been considered as the most pristine and unbiased.

They said in their protest memo that recognition of their talent with awards was an honor but their presentation by President was a dignity given to their service. As some of them later said, had they known, many of them would not have brought their next of kin along.

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