Just a few days ago, the winners of the prestigious National Award for Films were announced. Amongst them were late legends like Sridevi and Vinod Khanna and it also celebrated the unique films across varied languages that released this year. However, the winners were left miffed when they realized that the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind will not be distributing all the awards as per tradition.
It is a known fact that the National Award winners are always felicitated by the President Of India every year. It is an age old tradition that is being practiced over six decades. But this year, the President has allotted only one hour for the award distribution ceremony. In fact, it is being said that he will present only 11 awards since he will be present at the function only after 5:30.
As of now, it has been learnt that the ceremony will kick off from 3:30 pm but the awards will be presented by other ministers. According to a docket that was handed over to the awardees, it is being said that the awards between 3:30 to 5:30 will be presented by Union Information & Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani, Minister of State, Information & Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and Secretary of Information & Broadcasting Narendra Kumar Sinha.
It is being said that the polite rehearsals and the well-choreographed National Award ceremony is a farce because the awardees were clearly upset with the President skipping more than half of the event. It seems that the winners had considered this particular behavior offensive and insulting because of which they have unanimously opposed it.
It is being said that they have even threatened to boycott the ceremony. When the Directorate of Film Festivals was approached with these grievances, he asked them to contact Smriti Irani with their complaints. When they approached Irani with the same, she too reportedly reinstated the same adding that they were called by the organizers to present the awards. However, the winners were against the demarcation and differentiation between awards and hence continued with their threat.
Furthermore, a source from Rashtrapati Bhavan has been quoted in reports saying that the President and Prime Minister are apparently having a hectic schedule. It is being considered to be the reason for the President dedicating less time to the award function.
As of now, it has been learnt that the winners are asked to be present at the Vigya Bhavan in Delhi by 3:15 pm as Smriti Irani is expected to continue the felicitation ceremony until 5:30 after which the President is expected to take over.
The 11 awards that will be presented by the President of India includes the ones handed over to Bollywood celebrities. It includes Best Actress award for Sridevi [Mom], the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for late Vinod Khanna, A R Rahman for Best Music Direction [Kaatru Veliyidai] and Best Music Direction i.e. Background Score for Mom.