More than 60 National Film Award recipients decided to skip the ceremony blaming President Kovind. This came after officials announced the President would only present 11 of the awards. This upset the remaining awardees stating it was a tradition.

The awardees wrote a letter addressed to the Directorate of Film Festival and the Office of the President of India. The letter expressed their disappointment and were disheartened by the change. The awardees were informed last minute about the change in plans. The remaining awards were to be presented by Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani.

The letter read, “It feels like a breach of trust when an institution/ceremony that abides by extreme protocol fails to inform us of such a vital aspect of the ceremony with a prior notice. It seems unfortunate that 65 years of tradition are being overturned in a jiffy.”

They further added, “In the circumstances of not receiving a response for our grievance we are left with no option but to be absent for the ceremony. We do not intend to boycott the award but are not attending the ceremony to convey our discontent and are awaiting a more just solution.”

The artists discussed the issue with Ms. Irani late last evening and were promised a response which is yet to be delivered.