National Film Awards: Indira Gandhi, Nargis Dutt names dropped from categories, other changes

National Film Awards undergo major category changes in 70th edition
Representative image
Representative image

New Delhi | The 'Indira Gandhi award for best debut film' and the 'Nargis Dutt award for best feature film on national integration' have been retitled with the names of the late prime minister and legendary actor being dropped as part of a raft of changes for the National Film Awards, according to a notification.

The 'Regulations of 70th National Film Awards 2022' reflects the changes suggested by a committee set up by the Information and Broadcasting ministry to rationalise the honours given in different categories. The changes include an upward revision in the cash rewards, including for the Dadasaheb Phalke award, and several awards being fused.

"The committee deliberated on the changes during the pandemic. The decision to make these changes was ultimately unanimous," a member of the committee told PTI on condition of anonymity.

Filmmaker Priyadarshan, who is also a member of the panel, told PTI he gave his final recommendations in December. "I have made a few recommendations in the technical department like sound," he added.

Entries for the National Awards for 2022 closed on January 30. The awards are running a year late because of the pandemic with the National Awards for 2021 being given in 2023.

In accordance with the changes suggested by the committee, and included in the 'Regulations', the 'Indira Gandhi award for best debut film of a director' has been renamed 'Best debut film of a director'. The prize money, which was earlier split between the producer and the director, will now only go to the director.

Similarly, the 'Nargis Dutt Award for best feature film on national integration' will now be called the 'Best feature film promoting national, social and environmental values'. This category also merges award sections for social issues and environment conservation into one.

The rationalisation committee was headed by Neerja Sekhar, additional secretary in the I&B ministry. It included filmmakers Priyadarshan, Vipul Shah, Haobam Paban Kumar, Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chief Prasoon Joshi, cinematographer S Nallamuthu as well as I&B joint secretary Prithul Kumar and the ministry's director (finance) Kamlesh Kumar Sinha.

The entries for the 70th edition of the awards, to be held this year, were sought on the basis of recommendations of the committee which reviewed and rationalised the honours.

The monetary reward for the Dadasaheb Phalke award, which is presented every year to an Indian film personality for their outstanding contribution to Indian cinema, has been increased from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 15 lakh.

Besides, the prize money for the Swarn Kamal awards has been increased to Rs 3 lakh and to Rs 2 lakh for Rajat Kamal winners across categories. Earlier, the award money varied from category to category.

Swarn Kamal is given in these categories -- best film, debut film, film providing wholesome entertainment, direction and children's film.

Rajat Kamal is given to winners of best feature film promoting national, social and environmental values, all the acting categories, best screenplay, music and other such categories.

In another notable change, the award for 'best animation film' and 'best special effects' have been clubbed under a new category named "best AVGC (animation, visual effects, gaming and comics) film" with two sub-categories.

The 'best audiography' category, which had three sub-categories honouring location sound recordist, sound designer and recordist of the final mixed track, will now be known as best sound design. The prize money, which has been raised to Rs 2 lakh from Rs 50,000, will be rewarded to the sound designer.

Tweaks have also been made in the best music direction category, which will now be known as 'best background music'.

A special jury award has been discontinued but the jury has sole discretion to award two special mentions in the feature film and non-feature film categories of the National Film Awards.

In the non-feature film category, some segments have been discontinued while others have been merged together. And a new category for best script has been introduced.

The segments of best anthropological/ethnographic film, best science and technology film, best promotional film, best environmental film including agriculture, best film on social issues, best educational film, best exploration/adventure film and best investigative films have been merged to created two segments: best documentary and best non-feature film promoting social and environmental issues.

Best film on family values as well as special jury awards have been discontinued in the non-feature category.

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