The 65th National Film Award winners are expected to be honoured at Vigyan Bhawan in Delhi today, however, after continuous rehearsals on Wednesday, awardees were in for a horrible shock when they found out that President Ram Nath Kovind will be handling just about 11 awards out of a total of 140. According to a report in Mumbai Mirror, the remaining awardees will be given awards by the Information & Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Minister of State, Information & Broadcasting, and Narendra Kumar Sinha, Secretary, Information & Broadcasting. The National Award winners of 2018 will be present for the customary photo-op with President in groups of 45 as well.
Most of the winners are reportedly threatening to boycott the ceremony as they feel it is insulting for the 64-year-old tradition that is religiously being carried on since 1954. The leading tabloid quoted a source as saying that the awardees also approached Irani, who told them that the President has allotted them only an hour for the ceremony, because of which they had to ask other ministers to pitch in to hand over the awards.
The awardees reportedly suggested that the time for the speeches and photo-ops could be lessened in order to acommodate all winners being felicitation by the President. Irani then told the leading tabloid that she will be presenting not less than 75 awards in numerous categories followed by photo ops with every winner which is quite “time consuming”.
The 65th National Film Awards was announced on April 13 by the jury headed by the well known filmmaker Shekhar Kapur. The government’s Directorate of Film Festivals administered the awards. The jury panel included 10 members, prominent among which were screenwriter Imtiaz Hussain, lyricist Mehboob, South Indian actress Gautami Tadimalla, Kannada director P Sheshadri, Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, Ranjit Das, Rajesh Mapuskar, Tripurari Sharma and Rumi Jaffrey