Many winners upset, may boycott award ceremony

Many winners upset, may boycott award ceremony

A majority of the National Film Award winners on Thursday threatened to boycott the award presentation ceremony.

Over 70 recipients of the national awards refused to participate in the ceremony after they were told that President Ram Nath Kovind will present the awards to only 11 winners while the rest will be felicitated by Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Minister Smriti Irani.

High drama was witnessed on Wednesday during the award ceremony rehearsal.

Smriti and eminent filmmaker Shekhar Kapur, who headed the jury, tried to pacify the awardees. Their efforts, however, went in vain.

“We have been invited to the ceremony with a letter stating that the awards will be presented by the President of India. We along with our family and friends have been eagerly looking forward to this prestigious moment that merits our tireless work and dedication towards our dreams,” the awardees said.

It was only a day before the ceremony that the awardees were told by a senior official that a large segment of the awards will not be presented by the President.

“It feels like a breach of trust when an institution/ceremony that abides by extreme protocol fails to inform us of such a vital aspect of the ceremony with a prior notice,” the awardees, upset with the government on the issue, added.

The National Film Awards are presented to the winners by President of India. Former President Pranab Mukherjee had felicitated all the awardees last year.

“It seems unfortunate that 65 years of tradition are being overturned in a jiffy,” the agitated winners said.

The awardees said the minister discussed their grievances last evening and promised to give a reply.

“We have not heard from anybody. In the circumstances, we are left with no option but to be absent for the ceremony. We do not intend to boycott the ceremony, but we are not attending the ceremony to convey our discontent and are awaiting a more just solution,” they said.