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What is the National Film Awards 2018 controversy?

The 65th National Film Awards 2018 were held in New Delhi. But the news about President Ram Nath Kovind not giving away the awards in all the categories left the winners fuming who threatened to boycott the ceremony this year.

President Ram Nath Kovind at the National Film Awards 2018 The National Film Awards take place in New Delhi.

The 65th National Film Awards got embroiled in a controversy even before the event could be held at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi today. It was announced that President Ram Nath Kovind will present only some awards. As per custom, the National Film Awards in all the categories are handed over to the winners by the President of India. However, the reason for such a decision this year is still unknown.

Here is all that you should know about the controversy.

What is the controversy?

In an unlikely case, President of India Ram Nath Kovind will only present awards in 11 categories out of the total 140 winners, at the event being held in New Delhi.

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When did the controversy erupt?

On Wednesday, a day before the main event, President Kovind’s decision was announced leaving several winners fuming as it is considered a privilege to be awarded by the hands of the President.

National Film Awards 2018 photos President Ram Nath Kovind with all the winners.

How did the winners react?

Reportedly, 68 awardees planned to boycott the awards, while over 60 awardees wrote an open letter to President Ram Nath Kovind in protest.

The letter reads, “Respected Sir, We write to you collectively as filmmakers and artists from various states across our country. We are recipients of the 65th National Film Awards, an honour that we consider as the most eminent token of appreciation and encouragement for our work. We have been invited for the esteemed ceremony with a letter stating that the awards will be presented by the Hon’ble President of India. We along with our family and friends have been eagerly looking forward to this prestigious moment that merits our tireless work and dedication towards our dreams.


It is only a day before the ceremony that we have learnt through Mr. Chaitanya Prasad, that a large segment of the awards will not be presented by the Hon’ble President of India. 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. We as filmmakers and artists put in all that we have and tenaciously stick to our dreams in a field of work where appreciation does not come easy. We are disheartened to know that we will be deprived of the honour of this appreciation of a once in a lifetime moment and pride and glory that the National Film Awards had promised us.

Also read | National Film Awards 2018 LIVE UPDATES

The National Film Awards, unlike other awards ceremonies, has been considered as the most pristine and unbiased. We request that the dignity and eminence of this award is maintained and that there is no display of hierarchy at the event. We are disappointed to know that the Hon’ble President will be presenting the Award to just 11 awardees and not the remaining of about 120 of us. We would like to bring to your notice that we discussed this matter with the Hon’ble I&B Minister last evening and were promised a reply but haven’t heard back from anybody. We are left with no choice but to express our disappointment and convey to you that, at the end of the day, we feel dejected rather than honoured for our work. In the circumstance of not receiving a response for our grievance, we are left with no option but to be absent for the ceremony. We do not intend to boycott the award, but not attending the ceremony to convey our discontent and are awaiting a more just solution.”

Boney Kapoor, Jahnvi and Khushi at the National Film Awards 2018 Boney Kapoor, Jahnvi and Khushi received the National Film Award on behalf of Sridevi.

What did the President’s office reply?


The President’s office issued a statement in response stating that ever since President Ram Nath Kovind has assumed office, he has allotted only one hour to award ceremonies, be it whichever award.

“President attends all award functions and convocations for a maximum of one hour. This has been the protocol since he took office. It was conveyed to Information and Broadcasting Ministry several weeks ago and the ministry knew this all along. Rashtrapati Bhavan is surprised by the 11th hour questions that have been raised,” said Ashok Malik, press secretary to the President.

Who gave away the awards instead of President Kovind?

In the absence of the President, Information & Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani, Minister of State, Information & Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, and Secretary, Information & Broadcasting Narendra Kumar Sinha handed over the awards to the remaining winners.

First published on: 03-05-2018 at 05:50:37 pm
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