New Delhi: The National Film Awards — the citation, medal and award cheque — for 55 odd recepients is yet to be collected from the Directorate of Film Festivals even almost six months after the award ceremony was held under a cloud of controversy.
These award recepients had refused to accept the honours from anyone other than the President Ram Nath Kovind at the 65th national Film Awards held on May 3.
Sources stated that the DFF had earlier sought to send these awards to the receipients through some other mechanism like post. However, this proposal was shot down by the government. It is learnt that the information and broadcasting ministry was of the view that the earlier practice, wherein the receipients who had missed the award ceremony could collect the citation, medal and award cheque from the DFF by visiting their office themselves or by authorising someone on their behalf to collect these. It is understood that this view was taken as per prevailing practice over the years.
“Earlier too when the award recepients did not turn up for any reason, health or otherwise, this was the standard practice and we have decided to not change this procedure,” sources added.
While each year the number of missing award recepients had been confined to single digits, this year the number stood at approximately 55 due to the boycott call by a section of the award recepients.
The 65th National Film Awards were held on May 3 this year with more than one third of the recepients staying away from the prestigious ceremony as a mark of protest against President Ram Nath Kovind not giving away all the honours. Approximately 55 recepients stayed away from the Vigyan Bhawan ceremony while 80 odd received the awards, first from the then I&B ministers Smriti Irani and MoS Col Rajyavardhan Rathore and later from the President.
In fact, hours ahead of the award ceremony, 66 awardees had threatened to boycott in protest while also sending a signed letter of protest addressed to the DFF.
For the first time ever, the award ceremony was organised in two phases. In the first phase awards were presented to the recepients by the two I&B Ministers while in the second phase the President conferred awards on 11 recepients including the Dada Saheb Phalke, the nation’s highest award for the film industry.