National Film Awards: Vacant seats filled with dummies as awardees skip event

Tonya Becker
May 7, 2018

As the award winners' invitations stated that they would receive the award from the President of India, they wrote to the DFF about a breach of trust, "65 years of tradition was being overturned in a jiffy", and almost 55 winners boycotted the function.

The 65th National Film Awards ceremony was a departure from tradition of the Indian president handing over the awards to all the winners.

President Ram Nath Kovind confers Best Music Direction Award to AR Rahman during the 65th National Film Awards function at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi on Thursday. While the remaining would be given away by Information and Broadcasting Minister, Smriti Irani and Minister of State, Rajyavardhan Rathore. We felt bad because the people who got left out were those raw people, the technicians who are always called first in every award ceremony and edited out in every TV shows.

"...at the end of the day we feel dejected rather than honoured for our work", NDTV quoted the letter written by atistes, who said that they had also written to Irani but were yet to receive a reply from her.


About how they proposed to collect their awards after skipping the programme since they had made it clear they were not boycotting the awards, an awardee said their invitation letter had declared the awards would be couriered to them if they did not attend the event. The others will have to do with Minister Smriti Irani and clearly the disparity has irked with several awardees -at least 80 of them--voicing their displeasure in a letter and describing the decision as a "breach of trust".

The only other occasion when the President didn't present the awards was during Pratibha Patil's tenure.

Nothing spoke of the sordidness of this prestigious event as that photograph with just two disturbed award winners, in a hall full of empty chairs. I&B ministry had sent invites to award winners and the invite had indicated that President would give all awards that wasn't true.

The President's secretariat issued a clarification which said, "The President attends all award functions and convocations for a maximum of one hour". Giving an account of what happened, a filmmaker said on condition of anonymity that they were informed about the change during the rehearsal yesterday.


Shashaa, who has bagged the best female playback singer for "Vaan Varuvaan" from "Kaatru Veliyidai", told IANS: "It's like the thrill of it is gone now".

"I would have been equally happy if the Minister (I&B) had given me the award".

"We feel insulted. Around 75 awardees are threatening to boycott the award ceremony today", National Award-winning Marathi film director Prakash Oak said earlier. They only wanted to receive the awards from eligible hands.

He added "Sridevi is this year's victor of the Best Female Actor Award and Vinod Khanna has been named for the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for his lifetime contribution".


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