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No-show at 65th National Awards after President’s snub
As 65 recipients skip 65th National Awards ceremony in protest against President Ram Nath Kovind handing select gongs, several winners express grief
The Kapoor family receives late actor Sridevi’s award from the President
Even as Sridevi’s family, including husband Boney Kapoor and daughters Janhvi and Khushi, received the Best Actress award on behalf of the late actor, many chairs at Vigyan Bhavan in Delhi – the venue of the 65th National Awards – lay empty.
An estimated 65 recipients skipped the ceremony in protest of being handed the award by Smriti Irani, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, and Rajyavardhan Rathore, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting. The National Award winners were informed on Wednesday that President Ram Nath Kovind would hand out only 11 awards of the total 140, thus breaking a long-held tradition.
Irani, Rathore felicitate Tripathi
Kaushik Ganguly, whose film Nagarkirtan won the Special Jury Award, said, “It is humiliating for the artistes that the President doesn’t have time to hand over more than 11 awards. Cabinet Ministers’ participation refers to government’s participation; this award then doesn’t remain apolitical anymore.”
Over 66 award winners wrote a letter addressed to the Directorate of Film Festival and the President’s office, expressing their dissent. However, things came to a naught. Malayalam actor Parvathy, who chose to skip the event said, “We were raising a reasonable grievance, but we did not get a reply to our letter at all.” At 3.30 pm yesterday, Irani and Rathore started handing out the initial set of honours, while the President arrived at 5.30 pm for the final leg. Actor Riddhi Sen, who was felicitated by the President, said, “The value of National Awards remains. But I am not supporting what happened.” The Rashtrapati Bhavan issued a statement that read, “President attends all award functions for a maximum of one hour.”
Regional cinema goes to Cannes
Smriti Irani, who will be leading the official Indian delegation at the Cannes Film Festival, wants to put the spotlight on regional films. It has been learnt that the I&B Ministry has chosen four National Award-winning films to be screened at the India Pavilion. A source reveals, “Rima Das’ Village Rockstars that won three National Awards and Malayalam film Bhayanakam that earned Jayaraj the Best Director award are part of the line-up. The other two films include Bengali film Nagarkirtan and Sinjar, a film from Lakshadweep made in Jasari language.” The source adds that the delegation will include Prasoon Joshi, Chairman, Central Board of Film Certification, Vani Tripathi Tikoo, a member of CBFC and filmmaker Jahnu Barua, among others.