The 65th National Film Awards ceremony is all set to take place at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi this afternoon. However, according to Mumbai Mirror, the awardees, who had assembled for rehearsals of the event yesterday, were in for a rude shock when they discovered that only 11 awards would be presented by President Ram Nath Kovind.

The rest of the awards, they learnt from a docket issued to them, would be handed over by Union Information & Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Minister of State, Information & Broadcasting, and Narendra Kumar Sinha, Secretary, Information & Broadcasting.

Vinod Khanna And Sridevi
Vinod Khanna(Awarded With Dadasaheb Phalke) And Sridevi(Awarded With Best Actress)

According to the docket, Kovind would arrive at the venue at 5:30 pm, after Irani, Rathore and Sinha had presented the bulk of the awards between 3:30 pm and 5:30 pm. It was further conveyed that post the ceremony, the winners would get the customary photo-op with the President in groups of 45.

Since the inception of the awards in 1954, all winners have been felicitated by the President and, goes without saying, departure from the tradition led to flared tempers. A source told the leading daily, many peeved winners threatened to boycott the ceremony, following which the director of the Directorate of Film Festivals, which organises the awards, asked them to air their grievances directly with Irani.

Smriti Irani Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore And Narendra Kumar Sinha
Smriti Irani (left), Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (middle) And Narendra Kumar Sinha (right)

It is reported that when the awardees met up with Irani, the I&B minister reasoned with them saying that the President had allotted only an hour for the ceremony. “The awardees told her that the time allotted for speeches and photo-ops could be cut down, so that all the winners could be felicitated by the President himself,” the source told Mumbai Mirror.

The other option they gave to the minister was that she could present all the awards herself. “They were against differentiation of winners, and demarcation of awards was not acceptable to anybody and the threat of boycott was repeated,” added the source.

President Ram Nath Kovind
President Ram Nath Kovind

The awardees’ meeting with Irani ended with the minister telling them that she had contacted the President’s office and would get back to them as soon as she heard back from Vigyan Bhavan.

“It has been verbally conveyed to them that they should be present at the Vigyan Bhavan by 3:15pm. It looks as if the awards will be held as per their wishes — Irani will give out the awards until 5:30 pm, following which the President will arrive,” the source said.


Image Source: Thenewsminute/wikimediacommons/navbharattimes

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