Thursday, 20 September, 2018

President to attend National Film Awards for only 1 hour, states letter

President Ram Nath Kovind and Smriti Irani President Ram Nath Kovind and Smriti Irani
Wayne Curry | 07 May, 2018, 06:29

"President should present us the award that is our right". Some recalled then Vice-President Hamid Ansari stepping in for then President Pratibha Patil as she was indisposed. These positions are beyond politics. Members of I&B [Information and Broadcasting] Ministry were asked to present awards along with other Ministers from the Information and Broadcasting during the absence of the President.

What was worse was the discrimination.

Earlier, sound artiste Resul Pookutty took to his Twitter account and shared, "If the government of India can not earmark three hours of its time, they should not bother giving us National Awards". But it does not make any difference for me because declaration of the award for the movie itself is a matter of pride for me.

"But to have the President's consent to give away some awards personally and not the rest is just not acceptable". According to the President's Office, It had already been conveyed to the MIB in March that the President would spend only an hour at the event.

"The President could not spare an hour or so for the deserving awardees of the mation". He would get exhausted standing, his feet and hands would hurt, he'd take a break and continue giving out the awards to the recipients right to the end. In the same category, Marathi Film, Morkhya; Oriya Film, HelloRC and Malayalam actor Parvathy, forTake Off were also awarded.

"They are breaking a 65 year old tradition". But it is equally important for me to receive the award from Smriti Irani Maam. They can not be given by anyone but the President. Along with all this year's award-winners, I applaud Naresh as well.

Some, including Bengali actor Riddhi Sen, made a decision to stay away from the event in solidarity with their colleagues even though they were slated to receive their awards from the President.

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Film editor and screenwriter Apurva Asrani, who won a National Film Award in 2001, claimed the awards have lost credibility these days.

The ceremony was eventually organised in two phases. Oscar-winning sound designer Resul Pookutty expressed the outrage of the entire technical community in Indian cinema.

In the wake of the controversy, the film industry has been delving into its collective memory for a precedent for what happened on Thursday, where some awards were given by the President and the majority by the minister. I do not know if it was special for all of them but I'm sure it was special for some. Why is it that only 11 people will get it from the President?

After a (mostly) controversy-free announcement of the awards last month, Thursday's ceremony was expected to be uneventful. They are the workforce. they work behind the camera, they carry heavy lights, they carry heavy equipment, they swing booms, they push trolleys, they work more than 18 hours a day! It is their sweat that earns every state government its entertainment tax.

Riddhi Sen, the Best Actor victor for the film "Nagarkirtan", received the honour from the President.

Information and broadcasting ministry officials maintain they had been informed of the new presidential protocol only a couple of days before the awards programme, by which time the invitations had been sent out. They only wanted to receive the awards from eligible hands.

As many awardees missed out on the event, two rows of seats were left empty and had to be filled out with dummies.

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