The 65th National Film Awards ceremony, to be held at New Delhi’s Vigyan Bhavan on Thursday, came under a strange cloud of controversy at the eleventh hour as news spread on Wednesday evening that Rashtrapati Bhavan had conveyed to the Information and Broadcasting ministry that President Ram Nath Kovind wouldn’t be able to attend the entire ceremony due to his “busy schedule”.
Sources said Rashtrapati Bhavan has said that due to President Kovind’s packed schedule, he wouldn’t be able to attend the whole function and had selected 11 awards that he would personally present.
The dress rehearsal of the awards ceremony on Wednesday saw agitated award recipients protesting as they suddenly heard the news that President Kovind may not be handing over their awards. They voiced their displeasure to I&B minister Smriti Irani, saying they wanted to receive their award only from the President.
The minister told the award recipients that while she could not direct a change of schedule for the President, their sentiments would be conveyed to Rashtrapati Bhavan.