'Didn't boycott, only conveying our grief': Malayalam artists on National Awards row

President Ram Nath Kovind and Smriti Irani

He said that the government had insulted president Ram Nath Kovind by insisting that information and broadcasting minister Smriti Irani should present most of the awards in a departure from convention. A last-minute petition was signed by the awardees, especially from the Bengal film industry, when they became aware of the fact that the President will honour only eleven of the winners.

Prasad Devineni, the producer of Baahubali, remarked as reported: "If an award is an award, you can send it by post."And this seems to be the general view with the awardees in tweets and comments making it clear that the National Film Awards were special only because these were given by the President".

Among those who received the award and citation from Kovind were Boney Kapoor and his daughters on behalf of the late Sridevi, music composer AR Rahman, and Akshay Khanna on behalf of his late father Vinod Khanna.

The ceremony on Thursday was divided into two sections.

74 angry winners write letter of protest to govt body, say President's decision to hand over just 11 of the hundreds of awards is "discrimination".

Malayalam filmmaker Jayaraj, who received the Best Director award, slammed other artistes who refused to accept the awards. "We are disheartened to know that we will be deprived of the honour of this appreciation of a once in a lifetime moment of pride and glory that the National Film Awards had promised us.", said the letter.

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Over 50 winners out of the 125 recipients boycotted the event. The President must not be dragged into unbecoming controversy: fortunately none in authority have thus far alleged "political motivation", and it is to be hoped that Opposition parties do not try and throw dirt around ~ as they relish doing. We have not attended the ceremony, because we feel the sanctity of the award has been lost.

An official told the daily that the President's Office was surprised at the controversy because the original plan was for President Kovind to present 11 awards.

After the announcement of the National Film Awards winners for 2018, there was much excitement in the air. "Even the Information and Broadcasting Ministry were informed days beforehand but they didn't care", he said. But yesterday, we came to know that the President will give awards to only 11 people and that all of us will get a chance to take a group photo with him.

It goes to the credit of the government that the National Film Awards are well-respected and credible, barring a few aberrations. "If not the president, then at least the vice president should give away the remaining awards not the ministers", Gowda told PTI.

Also, it is not about getting the award from another minister, but more about the feeling of achievement one gets on receiving an award from the President of the country. The National Award is our nation's highest recognition, being recognized at Hon.

Riddhi, 19, said "this has never happened in the history of the National Awards and is hence very shocking".

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