President Won't Present All Film Awards, Winners Plan To Skip Event

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President Won't Present All Film Awards, Winners Plan To Skip Event

Posted on : Thursday 3rd of May 2018

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NEW DELHI:  More than 80 winners of the National Film Awards plan to skip the ceremony this evening after learning that only 11 awards will be presented by President Ram Nath Kovind. In a break from tradition, Smriti Irani, the Information and Broadcasting Minister, will present the rest of the awards.

"...at the end of the day we feel dejected rather than honoured for our work," the artistes say in an impassioned letter addressed to the President and the government.

The President's office expressed surprise at the "11th hour protest", saying it was known that Mr Kovind attends all award functions for a maximum of one hour. "This has been the protocol since he took office. It was conveyed to Information and Broadcasting Ministry several weeks ago and the ministry knew this all along," said Ashok Malik, press secretary to the president.

The 11 chosen for the President's segment include Vinod Khanna and Sridevi, who are being honoured posthumously.

The award winners have suggested that speeches and other frills be edited from the ceremony so that the President can accommodate more of them.

They said they had spoken to Smriti Irani and were promised a reply but they hadn't heard back.  "... we are left with no option but to be absent for the ceremony. We do not intend to boycott the award but are not attending the ceremony to convey our discontent and are awaiting a more just solution," says the letter signed by noted singer KJ Yesudas, Bengali filmmaker Kaushik Ganguly and actor Fahadh Faasil.

"We as filmmakers and artists put in all that we have and tenaciously stick to our dreams in a field of work where appreciation does not come easily. We are disheartened to know that we will be deprived of the honour of this appreciation of a once in a lifetime moment of pride and glory that the National Film Awards had promised us," they write.

The artistes - many arrived yesterday for the rehearsal of the presentation ceremony at the Vigyan Bhawan - also allege "breach of trust" as they say they learnt about the big change only at a day's notice.

"Newton" producer Manish Mundra, whose film has won the National Award for best Hindi film, tweeted: "The whole inherent and intrinsic value of #NationalFilmAwards is due to the fact that it's being given away by (the President). Otherwise it's just one amongst the other many film awards mushrooming across the country! #NationalFilmAwards," he tweeted.

Prasad Devineni, the producer of Baahubali, remarked: "If an award is an award, you can send it by post."

Courtesy : NDTV

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