The 65th National Film Awards ceremony to be held at New Delhi’s Vigyan Bhavan on Thursday is in the middle of a controversy. Several National Film Award recipients have protested and even threatened to boycott the event after news broke out that the President was available to hand our awards to just 11 awardees. The Rashtrapati Bhavan had earlier told the Information and Broadcasting ministry that President Ram Nath Kovind wouldn’t be able to attend the ceremony for more than an hour due to his busy schedule.
Several reports mentioned that President Kovind selected only eleven awards to personally present even as there was no mention of which eleven awards were to be given away by him. After the President’s appointed time, the ceremony is scheduled to be carried forward by I&B minister Smriti Irani. This news led to the displeasure of the award recipients as they wanted to receive their award only from the President.
Ashok Malik, the press secretary of the President said in a statement, "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."
The 65th National Film Awards were announced on April 13 and this is the first National Film Awards President Ram Nath Kovind will be conferring.