The 65th National Film Awards ceremony, which was held in New Delhi on Thursday, May 3, 2018, has landed up in a controversy. Some awardees are reportedly upset about the fact that President of India, Ram Nath Kovind will be handing out only 11 awards. Following which, the recipients of the National Film Awards wrote a letter expressing their disappointment over the issue and as a result, a total of 68 awardees did not attend the prestigious event.
In an interview to Republic TV, when music maestro A R Rahman was asked about the controversy to which he replied “ some award winners may have informed their friends and family, the last minute change may have disappointed them. For me it's a day of celebration.”
The 65th National Film Awards, which were announced on April 13, 2018, recognized veteran late actors Vinod Khanna and Sridevi's contribution to the Indian cinema by honoring them posthumously with the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke award and the best actress award respectively. Sridevi's 'Mom' also won the award for best background score and the award was won by A.R.Rahman. The award for the best actor went to Bengali film actor Riddhi Sen for his film 'Nagarkirtan' and the film has been directed by Kaushik Ganguly. Bollywood actor Pankaj Tripathi, who is known for his negative role in Hrithik Roshan starrer 'Agneepath', won a special mentions award for 'Newton' starring Bollywood actor Rajkummar Rao in the lead. Recipients in the letter said they were ‘disheartened’ on being informed at the last minute that the President will present only 11 awards and he will be present at the event for only one hour.
"It feels like a breach of trust when an institution/ceremony that abides by extreme protocol fails to inform us of such a vital aspect of the ceremony with a prior notice. It seems unfortunate that 65 years of tradition are being overturned in a jiffy," the letter read.
The awardees said they had discussed the matter with Smriti Irani on Wednesday evening and were promised a reply. However, they did not receive any response and hence decided to skip the National Awards ceremony.