Controversy clouds 65th National Film Awards as President limits presence at presentation ceremony

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New Delhi: The 65th National Film Awards ceremony is going to be held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi on May 3 and since this award is considered to be the highest honor in Indian cinema, those who win are more than elated to attend it. This year, however, will witness a change.
The National Film Awards are presented by the President and the winners consider it a privilege to be awarded by the hands of the President. This year, President Ram Nath Kovind will apparently only present the award in 11 categories. Many of the winners have decided to skip the ceremony because of the same.
In a conversation with indianexpress.com, Sandeep Pampally, who won the Best Jasari Film National Award for Sinjar, said: “Yesterday, during rehearsals we got to know that not all awards will be presented by the President and then the winners decided to boycott the ceremony. Today, Shekhar Kapur met with the upset winners and they requested him that they should be awarded by the President. Shekhar Kapur has said that there will be a decision made. But there’s no clarity as to what will finally happen.” Sandeep added that if the ceremony takes place, he will receive the award because he respects it and the nation but like others, even he wanted to receive it from the President.
Director Hansal Mehta, who has earlier won the National Film Award for his film Shahid, told indianexpress.com, “It’s extremely disappointing. It’s unfair. Not to undermine any Minister but it’s the biggest recognition that an artiste gets from his or her nation and it’s given by the President. These winners had already reached Delhi and they were in the middle of their rehearsals when they were informed. That’s humiliating.”
Whether all the National Film Awards will be presented by President Ram Nath Kovind, is yet to be announced.

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