The 65th National Film Award winners are expected to be honoured at Vigyan Bhawan in Delhi today. At 5.30 pm, the president will confer the winners at Vigyan Bhawan.
However, after continuous rehearsals on Wednesday, awardees were in for a horrible shock when they came to know that President Ram Nath Kovind will be handling just about 11 awards out of a total of 140. The winners will be present for the customary photo-op with President in groups of 45 as well.
According to reports, the remaining awardees will be given awards by the Information & Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Minister of State, Information & Broadcasting, and Narendra Kumar Sinha, Secretary, Information & Broadcasting.
This decision of the President has upset some of the awardees who are threatening to skip the award function. They reportedly argued that in 2017, former President Pranab Mukherjee had handed out all the National Film Awards personally.
Most of the winners are reportedly threatening to boycott the ceremony as they feel it is insulting for the 64-year-old tradition that is religiously being carried on since 1954.
The leading tabloid quoted a source as saying that the awardees also approached Irani, who told them that the President has allotted them only an hour for the ceremony, because of which they had to ask other ministers to pitch in to hand over the awards.
The 65th National Film Awards were announced on April 13, in which the contribution of Vinod Khanna and Sridevi to Indian cinema were recognised by honouring them posthumously with the Dadasaheb Phalke and best actress awards respectively.
Sridevi’s husband and daughter participated in the dress rehearsal on Wednesday.