Metrolife: City filmmakers upset over Delhi awards fracas

Metrolife: City filmmakers upset over Delhi awards fracas

Many film-makers from Bengaluru were in Delhi on Thursday to receive national awards from President Ram Nath Kovind. They were upset when the hosts announced he wouldn’t be handing them the awards.

While many awardees from the Malayalam film industry boycotted the ceremony and stayed back at their hotels, others received the award but registered their protest.

Only 11 awards were presented by Kovind. The rest were presented by Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani and her junior minister Rajyavardhan Rathore. 

The 65th National Film Awards broke tradition by getting ministers instead of the President to present awards.
This is the first time in 64 years that the President did not hand out all awards.

Many film industry insiders say the presentation has lost its sanctity and assumed a political colour. 

Metrolife spoke to awardees and jury members from Bengaluru.  

N R Nanjunde Gowda, director of ‘Hebbet Ramakka’ which bagged ‘Best regional Kannada film’ award, says: “I am a first-time winner and my family was looking forward to my receiving the honour from the President. We were told only at the last minute that he wouldn’t be presenting the award. We feel cheated.”

P Sheshadri, jury member of the national film awards committee of 2017-18, feels the incident has shaken the faith of a lot of people.

“There were more than 50 people who boycotted the ceremony. It was disturbing to see so many empty seats. Many people were confused about the turn of events. No communication was sent out about the President not being present at the function. This is indeed a breach of trust,” he says.

J M Prahald, who won the best lyricist for ‘March 22’, says, “This is the first time that I am receiving a national award. I found the process unfair and discriminatory.”


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