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National Awards ceremony held amidst controversy

National Awards ceremony held amidst controversy

Several reports mentioned that President Kovind selected only eleven awards to personally present even as there was no mention of which eleven awards were to be given away by him.

The annual national film awards have met with boycott call and aversion among the film fraternity when the function itinerari revealed that about 60 winners out of all, will be honoured by the ministers, instead of the President of India Ram Nath Kovind. This has been the protocol since he took office. The Rashtrapati Bhavan expressed its surprise at being questioned at the "eleventh hour" about the ceremony. "But it was only this evening that we were told that only 11 awardees will receive them directly from the President", the filmmaker said, adding that either all the winners should get their awards directly from the President, or none of them. In a break from tradition, Smriti Irani presented most of the awards today.

Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Col Rajyavardhan Rathore, Information and Broadcasting Secretary N K Sinha, jury members were present with other dignitaries. The reason cited for this was that President Ram Nath Kovind will not be present at the Vigya Bhavan for the entire prize distribution ceremony. Having said this, I agree it is a break in a 65-year old protocol for the President to not personally give the award to every victor. We request that the dignity and eminence of this award is maintained and that there is no display of hierarchy at the event. In the circumstance of not receiving a response for our grievance, we are left with no option but to be absent for the ceremony.

The artistes, many of whom have already arrived in Delhi for the function, said they had discussed the matter with Irani on Wednesday evening and were promised a reply. On May 2, a day before the event, they were told that the president would attend the event only for some time and present the awards to only 11 recipients. "When you speak of the National Award, automatically people visualise the President handing over the award to the recipient", she said.

Asked whether the artists will accept the award if it was sent to them, they said they would, adding that they respect the National Award.

"The National Film Awards unlike other Award ceremony has been considered as the most pristine and unbiased".

These 11 special awards include #Sridevi and Vinod Khanna.

The award for best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment went to Baahubali 2 (Telugu).

As of now, it has been learnt that the winners are asked to be present at the Vigya Bhavan in Delhi by 3:15 pm as Smriti Irani is expected to continue the felicitation ceremony until 5:30 after which the President is expected to take over.

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