Like every year, National Film Awards are conducted but his year it was a little different. After 64 years, around 50 national awardees boycotted this award function. Actually out of 137 winners, President Ram Nath Kovind has to present awards for only 11 winners. The rest received it from Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani and Minister of State Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.
This programmee was done in the Vigyan Bhawan of the capital but there were so many vacant benches which was actually humiliating. Among them was director Praveen Morchhale, who’s “Walking With the Wind” won three National Awards including Best Film (Ladakhi).
President handed the awards to 11 people who include Vinod Khanna and Sridevi. Vinod Khanna’s award was taken by his family by the highest dignity of the country. Sridevi’s award was taken by his husband Bonny Kapoor and her daughters. Bonny Kapoor also said that receiving this award matters more than the people who will give it.
Mr Morchhale said he and several others were shocked to learn during the rehearsal the day before that the President would present the award only to a chosen few. The President’s office said it was known that since Mr Kovind took office, he has never spent more than one hour at any event.
“Our protest is not against who is getting the award from the President. Everybody should be given by the President or the ministers. Discrimination is very humiliating. It’s like artistes have been categorized into A and B,” said Mr Morchhale.
On the other hand Censor board Chief Prasoon Joshi said that the boycott was not in the right spirit. The value of award matters more than anything else. By boycotting this, they have played with the dignity of the country. He said that getting award from the highest power is something very unique and important. One should not belittle the awards. He said the he understand the emotion behind the protest but he doesn’t support them.
One more change can be seen in this ceremony was there was no performance by the winners. Joshi also said that every year changes happens and this is not new. One should be open to such changes.