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National Film Awards 2018 LIVE Updates: Boycott For First Time By Selected Awardees, Ministry Says Over 50 Winners Have Not Attended | May 3, 2018, 7:21 PM IST
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The ongoing National Film Awards ceremony has found itself in the middle of controversy. Winners awards were left fuming on Wednesday, one day prior to the prestigious awards ceremony (to be held at New Delhi’s Vigyan Bhawan today evening), after they were informed that President Ram Nath Kovind will only be presenting awards to 11 out of the total 140 recipients. Over 50 awardees are reportedly boycotting the awards, while over 60 awardees have reportedly written a letter in protest. The President's office has issued a statement in response. According to the statement, President Kovind, since he first assumed the office, has always allotted only one hour to award ceremonies, no matter what their nature.

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May 3, 2018 6:26 pm (IST)

President Kovind ended his speech by saying, "May you and may our film industry go from strength to strength. To borrow a line from a film that some of you may remember, “Picture abhi baaki hai” – the best is ahead of us."

May 3, 2018 6:26 pm (IST)

President Kovind said, "India is gaining traction as a film-making destination. The success of several India-based films has attracted many international studios. We need to build on this process and create jobs and opportunities for our creative and talented young people."

May 3, 2018 6:25 pm (IST)

President Kovind said, "We are living in exciting and transformational times for cinema. Technology has changed the way films are made as well as the way they are consumed. With the advent of low-cost data and smart phones and tablets, there is a clear shift in viewership patterns."

May 3, 2018 6:24 pm (IST)

President Kovind said, "I am told that Indian film industry employs 2,00,000 people directly and many more indirectly. Thanks to a healthy rise in domestic collections, as well as overseas releases and satellite rights, the industry grew 27% in 2017. These are very impressive numbers."

May 3, 2018 6:21 pm (IST)

President Kovind said, "Cinema is culture and cinema is also commerce. The Indian film industry is among the largest in the world, with about 1,500 films a year. It is an expression of Indian soft power and has a transcontinental footprint."

May 3, 2018 6:20 pm (IST)

President Kovind said, "One doesn’t have to be a Bengali to appreciate the humanism and the nuance of a Satyajit Ray or a Ritwik Ghatak. You need not know Telugu to be mesmerised by the epic of Baahubali."

May 3, 2018 6:19 pm (IST)

President Kovind said, "Films are made in a variety of languages, from Bhojpuri to Tamil, Marathi to Malayalam. And yet cinema is a language in itself. Hindi cinema has probably done more than any other institution to popularise Hindi as a language across the country."

May 3, 2018 6:17 pm (IST)

Addressing the National Film Awards ceremony, President Kovind said, "When Vinod Khanna and Sridevi passed away, for millions of film lovers the loss seemed personal. Their fans and followers could be found all over the country, in every state and region. This is the beauty of cinema. Our film industry unites us as few others do." 

May 3, 2018 6:15 pm (IST)

Addressing the audience and winners at the National Awards, I&B Minister Smriti Irani said, "In 2017, we assessed 2000 films. And every film was special, who thought a movie from the Northeast (Assamese-language Village Rockstars) will get best film?"The President honoured Vinod Khanna who excelled in films and in politics; he got the highest award." Speaking about Madhya Pradesh, which won the award for most film friendly state, Irani said, "A state that encourages good film making should be awarded most film friendly state." 

May 3, 2018 6:02 pm (IST)

Late actor Sridevi was posthumously awarded Best Actress for her role in Mom. Her husband Boney Kapoor, and their daughters, Jahnvi and Khushi, accepted hte award from President Kovind. 

May 3, 2018 5:54 pm (IST)

The late actor Vinod Khanna is the 49th recipient of the Dada Saheb Phalke Memorial Award. His wife, Kavita Khanna, and son, Akshaye Khanna, accepted the award on his behalf. Speaking earlier to News18, Akshaye had said, "It’s an extremely emotional day for our family because my father is not with us. It’s a prestigious honour. Had he been here he would been extremely happy. I can’t express it in words." 

May 3, 2018 5:41 pm (IST)

President Kovind has arrived at the venue to present the 11 awards. The President was greeted with a rendition of the national anthem, followed by a welcome address.

May 3, 2018 5:34 pm (IST)

Divya Dutta bags the Best Supporting Actress Award for the eye opening film Irada, where the greed of human beings pollutes the environment including the ground water. Irada shows an effort to reverse the same.

May 3, 2018 5:20 pm (IST)

Congress leader and former I&B Minister Manish Tewari today said it was unfortunate that President Ram Nath Kovind will not be presenting all the National Film Awards today and requested him to not break with tradition. More than 70 winners of the National Film Awards earlier today said they would skip the ceremony in the evening after a last-minute announcement that President Kovind would be presenting only 11 awards, a departure from tradition. "It is unfortunate Hon'ble President of India has not been able to find time to present ALL National Film Awards that showcase India's creativity, performing Arts & Soft Power. President should reconsider as awards presented by the office he represents carries different GRAVITAS," Tewari said on Twitter.

May 3, 2018 5:19 pm (IST)

Ganesh Acharya who won the National Award for best choreographer for Toilet: Ek prem katha, spoke to News18, after receiving his award. "It’s a huge honour for me. For Indians I think national awards are equivalent to Oscars. I’m extremely happy. I got my first national award for Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and am now getting one for Toilet. I could not have asked for more. This is the award where you actually feel that you’re working for your country. I don't know about other awards but this surely feels like I'm actually contributing something to my homeland," he said. 

May 3, 2018 5:13 pm (IST)

Speaking to, Kaushik Ganguly, whose Bengali-language film Nagarkirtan won four awards, including Special Jury Award (Feature Film), National Film Award for Best Actor (Riddhi Sen), Best Costume Design (Gobinda Mandal), Best Make-up Artist (Ram Rajjak), said, "It’s quite unfortunate. They (the government) must not forget that they are national award winners, they are the best in the country. And if the President doesn’t have time for them and he can’t spare two hours on a prefixed date, it’s pretty unfortunate. Secondly, the moment you ask a minister to hand over an award it becomes political. Cabinet minister belongs to a party or a government. Only the president and vice president are above everything." While the filmmaker will not be attending the ceremony, he said, "Riddhi will be going because his category is under control, so he’ll be there. But we won’t be taking our award."

May 3, 2018 5:05 pm (IST)

Shasha Tirupati was awarded the National Award for best female playback singer. Addressing the furor over the awards ceremony, while speaking to News18, she said, "For me it’s always been about balancing. I have been given the award: I need to respect that, and at the same time I have tremendous amount of love and respect for my fraternity. I signed the document (letter) and I was completely in the favour of the idea that if we are invited and being told that the president will present us with the honour, it means somewhere we cannot trust the words that are given to us. I don't understand what is worth trusting. So I'm very disappointed in the president. We look up to people like this and I think for the first time I missed APJ Abdul Kalam."

May 3, 2018 5:01 pm (IST)

For his role in Amit Masurkar's Newton, where he played a maverick army commandant, thespian Pankaj Tripathi was awarded a Special Mention at the ongoing 65th National Film awards, taking place in Delhi. He was presented the award by Union ministers Smriti Irani and Raghavendra Rathore. Speaking to News18, about the President giving away only a few awards, the actor said, "Ab baarat aa chuki hai, dulhan koi bhi vida karde. I was also expecting that the president will give away the award but it’s ok. I can’t express it in words. Still I feel that we shouldn’t boycott it because every recognition is important, and we shouldn’t disrespect it."

May 3, 2018 4:57 pm (IST)

Amit Masurkar's Newton, starring Rajkummar Rao and Pankaj Tripathi, wins the Best Film Award at the 65th National Film Awards. Masurkar accepted the award from Union ministers Smriti Irani and Raghavendra Rathore. 

May 3, 2018 4:54 pm (IST)

Censor Board chief Prasoon Joshi is present at the National Film Awards ceremony and spoke to News18. Addressing the subject of the controversy, he said, "I can totally understand their feelings. But I think an award should be seen as an award and not be dragged into any controversy, especially National awards which is an extremely prestigious ceremony."

May 3, 2018 4:51 pm (IST)

Addressing the controversy over the National Film Awards and the ensuing protests, filmmaker Shekhar Kapur, who headed the jury for  this year's awards, speaking to News18, said, "I don't organise the protocol of the ceremony. I just want to say that who all we have chosen are well-deserved. All of them are extremely talented. I’m so happy to see getting their work recognised." 

May 3, 2018 4:47 pm (IST)

Dummies have been used to fill up the seats of the absentee winners at the National Film Awards. This has created a furor among the protesting awardees. Name plates are being pushed down and dummies are being seated in the seats of the awardees. This is an allegation made by the protesting Awardees. 

May 3, 2018 4:42 pm (IST)

Boney Kapoor, who received a posthumous award for his wife Sridevi, said, "When I got to know that she will be honoured with the national award (posthoumously), we all felt so proud. We have been missing her since she left us. Had she been here she would have been as happy as we are today. I must thank the jury and the government of India for recognising her talent. Perhaps it was not in her destiny to receive this herself."

May 3, 2018 4:39 pm (IST)

Composer A R Rahman, who is receiving a National Film Award at the ceremony today, spoke about the controversy, saying "I don't know the internal reasons for that, I felt the very same when I got my Grammys. Also, we’ll have to see maybe because health issues." When asked if he's disappointed, Rahman said, "Yes a lot of people are a little upset. I think it’s maybe because the passion they have. It’s a once in a lifetime honour for some people - receiving an award from the president. I don't whom side I should take."

May 3, 2018 4:27 pm (IST)

You can watch the 65th National Film Awards live on Youtube.

May 3, 2018 4:24 pm (IST)

Addressing the controversy over the National Film Awards, Baahubali producer Prasad Devineni said, "My sympathies are totally with them. I have also felt the same. I just didn't want to insult the awards by not taking them. Otherwise they have the every right to feel how they are feeling.” Baahubali won the national award for Best popular film providing wholesome entertainment.

May 3, 2018 4:17 pm (IST)

National Award Winners were informed about this change in felicitation yesterday in the dress rehearsal at 3:30 pm; and I&B Ministry officials informed the award winners that only 11 recipients will be felicitated by the President in a stern manner. It is then that awardees contacted I&B minister Smriti Irani and she came to meet them at 5:30 pm. Smriti Irani spoke to them, tried to convince them. She told them it's not my prerogative, and that it was a decision made by the Rashtrapati Bhavan, which says they had informed the ministry about the same long ago. Today, a delegation of 70 people led by RC Suresh wrote a letter addressing the I&B Ministry requesting them to reconsider the decision. After the talks failed, barring a few signatories like Yesudas, Actor Jayraj, most of them are staying back at Ashoka Hotel. 

May 3, 2018 4:12 pm (IST)

Actor Akshaye Khanna, son of late veteran actor Vinod Khanna, who is being honoured with the Dada Saheb Phalke Memorial Award, was emotional and grateful for the honour being bestowed upon him. Speaking to News18, Akshaye said, "It’s an extremely emotional day for our family because my father is not with us. It’s a prestigious honour. Had he been here he would been extremely happy. I can’t express it in words." 

May 3, 2018 3:59 pm (IST)

An official statement from the Rashtrapati Bhawan expressed "suprise" at the "11th hour questions" saying that the president attends all award functions for a maximum one hour and that this was conveyed to Information and Broadcasting Ministry days before. "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.

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