The 65th National Film Awards ceremony, which was held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, did not go as planned after 68 award winners boycotted the ceremony. This was due to an announcement a day prior to the event which stated that the President of India Ram Nath Kovind will only present awards in 11 categories out of the total 140 winners. Unhappy with the statement, as it is considered a privilege to be awarded by the President, the awardees protested by not attending the event. Around 60 of them also wrote an open letter addressed to the President. However, the awardees were not the only ones upset with the decision.
Many people on social media also felt that the move was discriminatory and lauded the ones who decided to boycott the event. “They’ve made national awards ceremony a “JOKE”. Where was President busy? What he does actually? What was so important that he couldn’t stay for more than 60 minutes in once in a every year activity? Shame!” “I appreciate the decision taken by national award winners to boycott the function,” were some of the tweets supporting the boycott.
one of the reason the National Film Awards are prestigious is because they are handed by the @rashtrapatibhvn -not a minister. This is a moment of a lifetime for Film makers ; please don’t deprive them of their merit / glory #NationalFilmAwards @smritiirani @Ra_THORe
— rahul dholakia (@rahuldholakia) May 3, 2018
Salutes to those 68 winners of the National Film Awards who have boycotted the ceremony after it was announced that President Ram Nath Kovind would be felicitating only 11 winners out of the total 137 recipients. pic.twitter.com/TPDfN1MXDo
— Sudeep Sudhakaran (@SudeepSudhakrn) May 3, 2018
They’ve made national awards ceremony a “JOKE”. Where was President busy? What he does actually? What was so important that he couldn’t stay for more than 60 minutes in once in a every year activity? Shame! https://t.co/BRczCCs2Vh
— Rajat Kapoor (@kapoor_636) May 4, 2018
I appreciate the decision taken by national award winners to boycott the function
— Manu John (@ItzmeManu) May 4, 2018
Utterly disgraceful to witness #RamNathKovind ill-treating his stature; insulting national-awardees & moreover demonstrating his pathetic time-management skills! #NationalFilmAwards #Accountability #BJP #NationalFilmAwards2018 #SmritiIrani
— Deepak Prabhakaran (@LAWyerSpeaking) May 4, 2018
The boycott was not overlooked by the President’s office, who issued a statement in response stating that the President, since he has assumed office, has only allotted one hour to award ceremonies. “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.
Information & Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani, Minister of State, Information & Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, and Secretary, Information & Broadcasting Narendra Kumar Sinha gave out rest of the awards once the President left.