Tuesday, 22 May, 2018

Filmmakers Explain Why they Boycotted the National Film Awards Ceremony

President National Film Awards 2018: Disgruntled awardees write an open letter to the President for 'breach of trust'
| 07 May, 2018, 15:11

It is hard to say who is to blame more, the President's office or the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting that organised the awards function, but there is no doubt that amends need to be made.

Said Ashok Malik, press secretary to the President: "I have already said earlier that the Ministry was informed well in advance that the President would not spend more than an hour". Members of I&B [Information and Broadcasting] Ministry were asked to present awards along with other Ministers from the Information and Broadcasting during the absence of the President.

The winners of the 65th National Film Awards were selected last month by a jury headed by director Shekhar Kapur with 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.

He told them that "a large segment of the Awards will not be presented" by the president whereas the invite given to them states that they will receive the award from the president. The National Award is our nation's highest recognition, being recognized at Hon.

Shashaa, who has bagged the best female playback singer for "Vaan Varuvaan" from "Kaatru Veliyidai", told IANS: "It's like the thrill of it is gone now".

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is contemplating to send the citations, medals and cheques to over 50 absentee awardees at the 65th National Film Awards this year, through post.


About how they proposed to collect their awards after skipping the programme since they had made it clear they were not boycotting the awards, an awardee said their invitation letter had declared the awards would be couriered to them if they did not attend the event.

If the Ministry had been aware that the President would only give a few awards, why was this not shared with the winners? "They were very supportive when they came to know that some of us were planning to attend the ceremony".

"I am extremely happy and proud".

The office of the President of India has conveyed its "unhappiness" to the Prime Minister's Office at the manner in which President Ram Nath Kovind's name was "unnecessarily" dragged into a controversy over the National Awards, Hindustan Times reported. It is heartbreaking that a number of award winners, including Fahadh Faasil, who won Best Supporting Actor for Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum, and Parvathy, who won Special Mention for Take Off, both in Malayalam, returned home without their National Awards. "So, we felt unworthy and disrespectful", says Shashaa, who feels that certain specifics should be followed.

Praveen Morchhale, the director of Walking With The Wind, which won three National Awards including Best Film (Ladakhi) this year, was among those recipients who chose to give the ceremony a miss.

While talking about the boycotting artists, Censor Board chief Prasoon Joshi told IANS, "Getting an award from the President of the country is a special moment. It took us a lot of time to process what had actually happened".

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