Published: Mon, May 07, 2018
Technology | By Lionel Gonzales

President Ram Nath Kovind expresses disappointment over Nation Awards controversy

President Ram Nath Kovind expresses disappointment over Nation Awards controversy

The group who staged the walk-out had written a letter the day before, which was read out by Chaitanya Prasad, Additional Director General, Director of Film Festival. Individual winners, however, did not shy away from using the phrase.

In a break from tradition, Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani and her junior minister Rajyavardhan Rathore presented most of the awards.

The singer-songwriter, who won in the Best Female Playback Singer category for her song Vaan Varuvaan in Mani Ratnam's Kaatru Veliyidai (2017), is proud of her achievement, but disappointed that she didn't receive it from President Ram Nath Kovind after a sudden turn of events.

As many as 69 awardees signed a letter addressed to the President saying "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".

And, that the final minute-to-minute programme had been cleared by Rashtrapati Bhavan. To know that you've won a National Award and then find out that the President is not handing it over to you, without even so much as an explanation, is a rude shock.

The President's office said he attends all award functions for a maximum of one hour.

The National Film Awards 2018 ceremony took place at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi on Thursday.

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Music director AR Rahman, Boney Kapoor (to receive Sridevi's posthumous Best Actress honour), Pankaj Tripathi, Assamese director Rima das and choreographer Ganesh Acharya are participating in the function.

Riddhi Sen was declared best actor for his portrayal in the film.

Assamese film, Village Rockstars was adjudged the best film. His wife Kavita Khanna and son Akshaye Khanna received the award.

He said India's strength lies in its diversity, and cinema celebrates it by having a unifying voice which transcends regions. He said, the plot of the films inspires people to stay connected to the legacy of civilization and the society. He said that the President's office selected only "stars" for those 11 awards. Many awardees got furious over the decision.

He stressed the need to build on the process and create jobs and opportunities for the creative and talented young people.

Expressing shock over this unprecedented incident, sources close to the Rashtrapati Bhavan made it clear that it had informed I&B ministry weeks in advance. The government must take all steps to maintain the majesty of the occasion and make the recipients feel special. He said, it is an expression of Indian soft power and has a transcontinental footprint. This has never happened before in the last 65 years, where the President refuses to present the award. No one expects such discrimination at the National Awards ceremony. This is what she's got after working for 50 years in the industry, she would've cherished this award all her life.

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