Two legendary big names were removed from National Awards! Here's what you must-know

(This article is authored by Alar)

The National Film Awards, the most coveted honour for Indian cinema, have announced some major changes in their categories for the upcoming edition. Two of the most prestigious awards, named after former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and former late actor Nargis Dutt, will no longer bear their names.

The Best Debut Film of a Director Award, which was earlier given in the name of Indira Gandhi, will now be simply called the Best Debut Film for a Director Award. The award recognises the outstanding work of a first-time filmmaker and comes with a cash prize. Previously, the prize money was shared between the director and the producer of the film, but from now on, it will go solely to the director.

The Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration, which was instituted in the memory of the legendary actress and social activist, will also undergo a name change. The award will now be known as the Award for Best Film Promoting National Social and Environmental Values.

The award aims to encourage films that foster a sense of unity and harmony among the diverse cultures and communities of India, as well as raise awareness about the environmental issues facing the country. The award carries a cash prize of Rs. 15 lakh, as it was before 10 lakhs.

The reason behind the name changes has not been officially stated by the Directorate of Film Festivals, the organisation that conducts the National Film Awards. However, some sources have speculated that the move is intended to avoid any political controversy or bias, as both Indira Gandhi and Nargis Dutt belonged to the Congress party, which is currently in the opposition.

The National Film Awards are given annually by the President of India for the best films produced in the country in various languages and genres. The awards are considered the highest recognition for Indian cinema and are often referred to as the Indian equivalent of the Oscars.

The application process for the 66th National Film Awards closed on 30th January 2024, and the winners  are expected to be announced in May. The awards ceremony will be held in New Delhi later this year.