The winners of the 65th National Film Awards were announced on 13th April, 2018 and the ceremony is to be held today. Just hours before the event, many awardees have threatened to boycott the event entirely. We hear that the reason behind this was the unexpected news that winners received at the rehearsal. Apparently, they were informed that President Ram Nath Kovind will be at the event for just an hour and will hand out awards to only 11 winners and rest would receive it from union information and broadcasting minister Smriti Irani, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, minister of state, information and broadcasting, and Narendra Kumar Sinha, secretary, information and broadcasting.

Expressing his exasperation, a filmmaker told The Print:

It was extremely disrespectful on the part of the organisers to treat the awardees this way. We were informed that we would receive the awards from the President himself, and we have brought our family members with us for the ceremony. But it was only this evening that we were told that only 11 awardees will receive them directly from the President.

The awardees were also dismayed because former President Pranab Mukherjee himself presented all the awards. The President’s Press Secretary, Ashok Malik clarified,

In all the award ceremonies he has attended, he gives away major awards, and takes photographs with all awardees. That has been the standard practice, which has been conveyed to the organisers well in advance.

While the winners haven’t refused to accept the awards, there is still no confirmation on whether or not the awardees will be attending the event.