Some of the recipients of the 65th National Film Awards were disappointed that President Ram Nath Kovind did not present all the prizes to the 137 winners when he met them at a ceremony in the Capital on Thursday, said an official who didn't want to be named.
According to the official, the president was to hand over the awards to 11 of the winners. 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. And this triggered a lot of anger and disappointment among award winners.
News agency ANI, quoted National Award winning Marathi film director Prakash Oak as saying, “We feel insulted, 75 awardees are threatening to boycott the award ceremony.”
The official had also said that Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani visited Vigyan Bhavan on Wednesday to meet the winners who were at the venue to ease their disappointment over the matter.
However, a Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson said the organisers had been informed weeks in advance that the President would be present only up to an hour at the function during which he would give out some of the awards and also have a group photograph taken with all the awardees.
Amidst all the controversy and rage, The National Film Awards was organised in two phases. Smriti Irani handed over the first set of awards from 4 pm and the second set of awards was conferred by President Kovind from 5:30 pm onwards.
The awards that were handed over by the President himself included the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke award for lifetime achievement award that went to the actor and MP the late Vinod Khanna making him the 59th Recipient, wife Kavita Khanna was present to accept the award.
Best actress award went to the late Sridevi for her role in the Hindi film Mom. Boney Kapoor along with his two daughters Khushi and Jhanvi received the award. Riddhi Sen too received the best actor award for his role in Nagar Kirtan.
These were the few lucky ones to be among the 11 awardees who were conferred by the President himself.
But the rest of the awardees were not quite happy with it since everyone has a dream of receiving the prestigious honour form the president himself which has been the tradition until now. Almost 50 awardees have boycotted the ceremony and 60 awardees have written a letter in protest.
Congress leader and former I&B minister Manish Tewari took to twitter saying that “It is unfortunate Hon'ble President of India has not been able to find time to present ALL National Film Awards that showcase India's creativity, performing Arts & Soft Power. President should reconsider as awards presented by the office he represents carries different GRAVITAS”