More funds for film awards next year

The 53rd National Awards were given by President Pratibha Patil in New Delhi on Friday almost a month after the Delhi High Court vacated a stay on the announcement of the awards.

Announcing a break from the tradition, Information and Broadcasting Minister P R Dasmunsi said, as recommended by President Pratibha Patil, a decision has been reached to increase the prize money of the awards by five-times and also add more award categories from next year.

President Pratibha Patil, in her address, called on the film fraternity to depict "human values" and "give impression to the many untold stories that lie in the heart of India". "Films unite people across barriers of language and culture, and the medium still has a lot of untapped potential. India must go further to earn its rightful place in the world of movie making," she said.

Clarifying that there were no irregularities in the selection process of the awards, Dasmunsi said, "Objectivity and transparency were adhered to in the whole selection process. There was no interference from the ministry at all. Not even a single call was made to the jury on the issue." He said new rules will be framed involving the film industry on this issue.

The 53rd National Awards were delayed after one of the jury members, Shaymali Deb, went to court claiming that there were irregularities in the selection process. The petitioner had challenged the decision of the Directorate of Film Festivals to give the awards to Black for best film and best actor, Parineeta for best debut director, Parzania for best director, Apaharan for best screenplay and to Tamil film Anniyan for best special effects.

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