The 64th National film awards were given by the Hon’ble President of India Sh. Pranab Mukherjee in the glittering ceremony held at Vigyan Bhawan New Delhi on 3rd May 2017 in the evening at 6 pm .The VigyanBhawan Plenary Hall was star studded with the Award winners, their guests, other luminaries, Media and the august gathering which was invited by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, which included the important Govt. officials from various Ministries, well known film personalities, film lovers, well known artists from Film Industry , Delhi Doordasrhan and All India Radio and others connected with the cinema world. 

The award function started with the inaugural brief speech by Sh. Rajiv Gauba, IAS, Secretary Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. He announced that the public screening of all the award winning films would start from the next day ie 4th May 2017 at Sirifort Auditorium II and go on for two weeks.This was followed by the speeches given by three Jury chairpersons, Bhawana Somaaya, (Best writing on Cinema), Raju Mishra (Non feature film jury ), and MadhurBhandarkar (Film friendly State). The first award started with Best writing on cinema.. There are many things that took place for the first time in the history of National Film Awards during 64 th NFA.

It is for the first time that two new National Film Awards have been instituted. The first being “ Best Action Direction’ for the Feature Film Category, and second being “ Best On-location sound” for the Non –Feature Film Category. The first recipients of these awards are Mr. Peter Hein for Telgu film “Pulimurugan” and Mr. Christopher Burchell for Non Feature film” Re-MemberingKurdi “in Konkani, Marathi, Hindi and English “language.

It is for the first time that the totally new category of Award has been created during 64th NFA. This award is not for any film or individual, but for a State Government that makes dedicated effort in the direction of facilitating and in creating a conducive environment towards promotion of Indian Cinema. This Award is called “Film Friendly State Award”. The “Most film friendly State award’ has gone to” Utter Pradesh” and “Special Mention” to “Jharkhand” State for the first time. The Jury for this Award was headed my noted filmmaker MadhurBhandarkar The State Award will help in improving broadly the overall standard of Indian cinema to a great extent. A very good step indeed.

It is for the first time that the Jury members of all the four juries of 64 th NFA were felicitated by Hon’ble Minister of Information and Broadcasting, himself in the presence of all the award winners in VigyanBhawan New Delhi on 3rd may 2017 just before presentation of Awards by the Hon’ble President of India .The Felicitation function was followed by high tea with the award winners at vigyanBhawan.

The recipients of “Dada sahib Phalke Award” in 2012,” Pran’ and in 2014 , “ShashiKapur “could not come to VigyanBhawan, New Delhi’ to receive their” DSPA” because of their poor health . The awards had to be delivered to their residence in Mumbai. But this time, 48 th Dada Sahib Phalke Award winner. K. Visvanath received the award from the hands of the President of india in the glittering Award ceremony among standing ovation and thundering applaud at VigyanBhawan New Delhi on 3rd May 2017.

It is for the first time that Mr. K .Prashantkumar , Dy Director ( Admin) ,working in Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF) was made the nodal officer for conducting the entire project of National Film awards, in addition to his own duties of DyDir (Admin) . Despite dual charge, the NFA project was handled very successfully.

The National Awards for films, which were started as an annual incentive by the Government of India , for the making of artistic, competent and meaningful films have come a long way, to cover the entire national spectrum of Indian Cinema, to judge merit by the highest possible yardstick and to become the most coveted and prestigious awards in the country.

From 1954, when the very first awards for the films of 1953 were given, down to the current year when the top awards for the films of 2016 were recently given, there lies the 64 years old story of an awards scheme, which is surely the most unique of its kind. The awards are now given in four sections – Feature Films, Non-Feature Films Best Writing on Cinema and Most film Friendly state.

In no other country, has the State encouragement to good cinema been such a vast and monetarily rewarding form year after year. In turn, this has influenced and encouraged the making of creative, serious, cinematic and significant films over the years.

Every year, the best works as well as individual achievements stand out on the highest national level, for all to see. This itself provides a tremendous spur and initiative for better film making, by creating a desire to win recognition and also the substantial cash prizes going with it.

Another commendable aspect of the National Awards is to encourage good films in all languages which is a marathon task, considering that India makes films in some twenty languages and dialects. Similarly, awards for documentaries, whether short or full length, are given in different categories. 

If we take a quick look-back at the decades which have rolled by, we find that the Awards, which were initially called “State Awards”, had started off in a small way, with two President’s Gold Medals, two certificates of merit and silver medals for a dozen regional films. For the first six years, it was the practice to give the regional best award to the national best film itself. Later, a medal or certificate of merit was given to two or three films in each language.

Separate awards for artistes and technicians were instituted in 1968 for the films of 1967, NargisDutt and Uttam Kumar being the first actress and actor to get them. For some time, these were called Urvashi and Bharat Awards but the names of the Awards were later changed.

In their aim and purpose, the National Awards have undergone several changes since their inception. In the early years, except for a rare case like PatherPanchali, the content seemed to be given more weightage than the form. But over time, with film-makers exploring different facets of the medium and enlightened cineastes being appointed on the Jury, this has changed enormously and now the form cum technique is considered as important as the content and thematic ideas.

National Awards aim at encouraging the production of films of aesthetic and technical excellence and social relevance contributing to the understanding and appreciation of cultures of different regions of the country in cinematic form and thereby also promoting integration and unity of the nation. The awards also aim at encouraging the study and appreciation of cinema as an art form and dissemination of information and critical appreciation of this art form through publication of books, articles, reviews etc.

The National Awards for the feature films category were given by the President after the brief speech given by S.P riyadarshan, chairman of Feature Film Jury.Since the Awards for 2007, two live playback singing performances are held during the ceremony. . Two very interesting live playback singing performances were given by Sundarayar, the best male playback singer in the Tamil Film, Joker and ImanChakraborty, the best female playback singer for a song in the Bengali film, Praktan.

The National Awards along with cinema’s highest honour, DadasahebPhalke award, were presented by the President of India in the presence of theHon’ble Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Mr. M. Venkaiah Naidu, Hon’ble Minister of State, Col. RayavardhanRathore, (Retd.), AVSM,Chairpersons of the four juries, representatives of Film Federation of India and Confederation of All India Cine Employees, Sh. Rajiv Gauba, IAS, Secretary Ministry I&B, Sh. Ashok Parmar, IAS, Joint Secretary (Films) and other senior officials. Hon’ble Minister of I&B gave a very interesting and humorous speech. He said, “Cinema is a religion of all religions .It’s a reflection of life with all the boring part cut out. Cinema is a universal language .India makes almost 1500 films per year.” MODI” does not mean Narendera Modi, our Prime Minister,but” Making Of Developed India”.

This year , Dada SahebPhalke Award was given to K .Visvanath, eminent filmmaker by the Hon’ble President of India amongst thundering applaud and standing ovation. The function came to an end with National Anthem.

I congratulate all the officers and staff of Ministry of I&B and DFF on the great success of 64th NFA .I congratulate Mr. C. SenthilRajan , Director/Directorate Of film festivals and his team of officers and staff for making untiring efforts to make the mega event successful. Mr. K. Prashant Kumar, Deputy Director(Admin and NFA) of Directorate of Film Festival, who was the nodal officer for the NFA , deserve accolades for making endless efforts for making the mega event a great success .I wish Ministry and DFF a great success of forthcoming 48 th IFFI to be held at Goain Nov 2017.

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