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Amid Boycott Call, Smriti Irani Presents National Film Awards

Many award winners referred to President Kovind only presenting 11 awards, a “breach of trust”

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Amid boycott call from several award winners, I&B Minister Smriti Irani and Minister of State Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore felicitated the winners of the 65th National Awards in New Delhi.

75 recipients of National awards had decided to boycott the prestigious ceremony after they were informed at the a day before the ceremony, during the rehearsals, that President Ram Nath Kovind would be presenting only 11 awards and the remaining would be presented by Irani and Rathore.

The 75 miffed recipients had complained that their “emotions were cheated” and “sentiments hurt”. Some of them even referred to the move as a “breach of trust” and “breaking of a convention”.

The recipients even wrote to Chaitanya Prasad, Additional Director General, Directorate of Film Festival, along with the President’s office and the Information & Broadcasting Ministry mentioning their intent to not attend the event

Winning a National award is a dream come true. But President Kovind’s decision to only present 11 awards feels like an insult to my art and the hard work I put in. And informing us of the same at the last minute is like being cheated emotionally
Prakash Oak, National Award winner(Best Marathi film)

The 75 recipients had also mentioned in the letter that despite being promised a ‘reply’ after a meeting with Smriti Irani over the the issue, they received none.

However, a few of the recipients who had signed the letter and expressed their intent to attend the ceremony, were present at the event and received their awards.

It is only a day before the ceremony that we learnt, through Chaitanya Prasad, that a large segment of the awards would not be presented by the 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 without prior notice. It seems unfortunate that 65 years of tradition are being overturned in a jiffy.
Excerpt from the letter written by winners

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