65th National Film Awards: Despite protests, I&B Minister Smriti Irani felicitates winners

The awardees announced to boycott the ceremony over felicitation of awards from the Information and Broadcasting Minister, and not the President, a change in the tradition.

65th National Film Awards: Despite protests, I&B Minister Smriti Irani felicitates winners
Image Courtesy: Twitter/ANI

New Delhi: Despite facing resistance from various awardees of the National Film Awards, the presentation ceremony was carried out by Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani. Earlier in the day, as many as 70 awardees had written a letter to the President Ram Nath Kovind threatening to boycott the ceremony over felicitation of awards from Irani as it was reported that the President would be presenting only 11 awards

However, despite the protest, the National Film Awards has proceeded with its facilitation ceremony with Smriti Irani giving away the awards this year.

Expressing 'surprise' at the '11th-hour questions', Rashtrapati Bhavan said in a statement that the President attends all award functions for a maximum one hour and this was conveyed to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

"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.

The function, being held at Vigyan Bhavan, will be organised in two phases this year, the Press Information Bureau said. The first set of awards will be conferred by Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani and the Minister of State Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore from 4 pm. The second set will be presented by the president from 5.30 pm.

Among all those who are being honoured at the National Film Awards are late actors Sridevi and Vinod Khanna, who have been posthumously awarded for their contribution to the Indian cinema. 

Sridevi has been honoured with the Best Actress award for her performance in 'Mom'. The actress' husband Boney Kapoor along with her daughters - Janhvi and Khushi Kapoor have arrived at the Vigyan Bhawan in the national capital to receive the honour on her behalf. Yesterday, Boney along with his daughters had gone to the Vigyan Bhawan for rehearsals.

'Mom', release in 2017, was Sridevi's 300th and her last film. 

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