The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee presented the 64th National Film Awards on May 3, 2017 in New Delhi. Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu and MoS Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore were also present on the occasion.
The President congratulated all the award winners, particularly, Veteran filmmaker Shri K Vishwanath, who was honored with the Dada Saheb Phalke award. He further said that India has more than 200 languages, 7 major religions and 3 major ethnic groups. Yet, India’s huge population lives under one system and one Constitution. He stated that Indian cinema reflects this underlying unity of our diverse nation. Like the diversity of life, there might be diversity in the Indian film industry but it conveys the common message of universal brotherhood, tolerance, cooperation and co-existence. Cinema conveys the broad message of humanity and the best of Indian cinema has received the recognition of the nation today. Indians can be argumentative but not intolerant as there is no place for an intolerant Indian in our civilizational ethos and culture.
Shri Mukherjee was happy that Indian cinema has not forgotten to convey this message to the people. He said that it was heartening to see so many young people being awarded on this occasion. It is an assurance that we can feel safe and secure that our national interests will be well protected in the future too.
He congratulated the Government for its initiatives such as the Film Promotion Fund to help the film industry and film makers.
Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar came over to announce the winner of the Most Film Friendly State –, and the award was given to Uttar Pradesh. The ceremony began with awards in Best Writing on Cinema followed by Non-Feature Film category.
Among those honored include Akshay Kumar, who won the Best Actor award for Rustom, and Malayalam actor Surabhi Lakshmi, who has been named as the best actress for her role in film Minnaminungu-The Firefly. Sonam Kapoor received a Special Mention from the jury for playing Neerja Bhanot in the film Neerja. Dangal actress Zaira Wasim collecting her award for her debut film Dangal. Producer Shoojit Sircar’s PINK won an award for the Best Film on Social Issues.
Chairperson of Jury and filmmaker Priyadarshan came on stage and spoke on how difficult it was for him to pick the best in cinema. He said the final verdict is always subjective, but the decision of the jury needs to be accepted by all. “Film is an entertainment of common man,” he said.
Soon after the ceremony, Akshay took to twitter to thank. He wrote, “No words can do justice to the joy I feel at this moment…sharing with you all, my first ever National Film Award! Thank you for the love.”