Discussion Post (News Snippet): National Award Walkout

I don’t want to talk about this news story in depth just yet, because it feels like there is going to be more to it that hasn’t come out yet and I am waiting for that.  But I also don’t want to miss out on your thoughts and opinions, and possible knowledge of what I am missing, so I will put this up for us to use for discussion and then a “real” post possibly in couple of days when it has played out more.

The National Film Awards were instituted in 1954 with the goal of honoring the contribution of film artists from all over India.  A formal clear recognition of their service to the nation.  A message to the filmmakers that they matter and their work is valuable, and a message to the public at large that film is a part of national service.

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(First winner: Do Bigha Zamin)

The National Film Awards are presented by the President of India, as are the Gallantry Awards to military heroes, the Nari Shakti Puraskar awards to brave women, and so on and so on.  The President serves as a representative of the nation, part of the value of the award is that it is being given to you personally by the honorary soul of the country.

India is a constitutional democracy similar in structure to a constitutional monarchy.  As are most democracies in the world (America is weird and doesn’t work quite right, but is also the most famous example of “President”, thus the need for this clarification).  The goal is a balance of power, representatives are elected, they come together to elect a Prime Minister from among them, and a cabinet is nominated.  But, separately, there is also a President who serves as the ultimate authority with the ability to call for elections, appoint people, blah blah blah.  The President is elected by the national representatives AND state representatives, giving him a broader base of support.  He is supposed to only act on the advice of the Prime Minister and the cabinet unless such advice is unconstitutional.  The President is a figurehead, essentially.  But a meaningful figurehead, one who serves (like a monarch would) to give the longer view and the deeper connection to the people.

The most important thing a President of India can and has done is declare a state of “Emergency”, suspending civil liberties, which is what President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed did on the advice of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.  But most of the time, the President serves a valuable purpose of not doing much.  He takes on the responsibility of the ceremonial role of the leader of the nation allowing there to be a clear line between that role and the day to day duties carried out by the Prime Minister.

And therefore it is the President who presents National Film Awards, and who is formally listed as the one “giving” the Awards.  The same way in England it is the Queen who would give you an honorary title for services to the nation, even if it is a whole massive unrelated committee somewhere else that determines who should receive a knighthood.  Part of the honor is to have the Queen herself do it, that is what gives the ceremony meaning.  And that is the Queen’s primary purpose, to provide this meaningful ceremonial center of the Nation.

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(Sort of like how Yash Chopra was still the public head of YRF, while Adi did the dirty business on the backside)

The National Film Awards in India are not the same as a knighthood.  The Padma Shri would be closer to that.  But the National Film Awards are also not quite the same as any other award ceremony.  There is that moment of honor and meaning in them, the feeling that you are on a sacred mission for your country, which you wouldn’t get merely by being awarded a certificate by a committee on the last day of a film festival.

And that is also where their greatest value lies.  The National Film Awards are reported all over the Nation, the award ceremony is televised, they are a Big Deal.  Because they are presented as a Big Deal, not just another award ceremony but the representative of all Indians (the President) stepping forward to pay tribute to the best in the country.  And the end result is that millions of people hear about filmmakers they might not otherwise have known, watch movies they wouldn’t otherwise have seen, there is a practical result to all this ceremonial tribute, the Nation gives these awards and then the people of the nation start to watch the movies.

 

All of that is to bring us to this year.  At the last minute, after the awardees had traveled to Delhi (their travel is covered, but that of their family is not), they learned at the rehearsal in advance of the ceremony that the President would NOT be presenting the awards.  They were told there would be “two parts” to the ceremony, some 100+ awards would be presented by the Minister of Broadcasting Smriti Irani, and 11 would be presented by the President himself.  The official line explaining what happened is that the President’s office has a policy that he only appears at events for one hour, which only gave him time to present the top 11 awards.  This upended a precedent for how this ceremony had always been done, with no warning.  There was immediate questioning of the policy and a promise that it would be looked into a response given.  Which was not received.

The end result was that some 70 awardees came together and crafted a letter to Chaitanya Prasad, director of Film Festivals who was coordinating the event, along with the President’s office and the Minister of Broadcasting, expressing their grievances.  Not with the awards, they are still pleased to have received the honor, but merely with the handling of the ceremony.

(Photo from Quint which is, as always, my go to source for reliable in depth reporting on these kinds of things)

And then at the actual award ceremony, 68 winners did not attend, leaving empty seats.

 

So, I’m not quite sure what I think about this.  Best case scenario, that I can see clearly from my experience of these kinds of events (worked for a not-for-profit, grew up in a state capital).  But worst case, I think I am probably missing some information to fully grasp it.

 

Best case scenario: This is one of those random gestures towards efficiency that government offices sometimes attempt and which almost always backfire.  I did a quick check, and President Ram Nath Kovind has presented awards recently.  But they were all a much much shorter list of awards, I could believe those ceremonies were less than an hour.  The National Film Awards are unique in the extremely large number of honorees, so if you were going to skip an Awards ceremony in the interests of time, this would be the one to skip.

Of course, it is still a bad idea to skip this award ceremony, even if it is very very very long and it doesn’t seem like an efficient use of time.  Because, this IS the job, this is what the President of India is for.  He is supposed to be the ceremonial head so that the Prime Minister is free to do the non-ceremonial tasks.  If he starts skipping ceremonies, what exactly else is he doing that is so important?

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(I know nothing particularly for or against this person, and if the choice was presenting the award of speaking at the United Nations, that would be fine.  But it doesn’t seem like that was the situation)

And his presence is part of what gives this awards any value at all, they are supposed to be a great honor because they are presented by the President.  Without that presentation, part of their value falls off. It is less of an honor for the winners, and it also has less real world value as the award ceremony might receive less coverage, you will not be able to put a photo of yourself with the President up in your office as a reminder at your next financing meeting, and all the other little ways that a purely “ceremonial” honor can effect real world results.

Ultimately, it also refutes the very thing the National Awards were instituted to combat, the sense that the film industry is a separate thing from the nation, something to be ashamed off and brushed aside.  Through all the censorship and trade restrictions and lack of industrial status, there was always the idea that you had that one moment in the sun when the President of India him or herself would take time to honor you.  And now there isn’t even that, film is so unimportant that it can be dropped off the schedule when it isn’t convenient.

So, best-case scenario, some bureaucrat somewhere said “why does the President have to be there for hours and hours?  Let’s streamline this, the longest award ceremony he has to attend, and set a precedent.”  And because of the subconscious disrespect for film and filmmakers, this idea made it all the way to the rehearsal point of the awards without anyone saying a) “Maybe we shouldn’t do this because it destroys a large part of the value of the awards” or b) “Maybe we should tell the winners this before they bring their whole families to see them receive an award from the President of India and are disappointed”.

In this best-case scenario, everything is a bit of a tempest in a teapot.  Okay, the mistakes kept multiplying, there was no clear explanation or apology given to the attendees, the schedule wasn’t rearranged last minute when it became clear what a Big Big Deal this was, even if you are the most dedicated efficiency expert at some point you should have realized it was time to stop fighting and just give in to avoid the boycott.

But on the other hand, 68 winners actually boycotting the ceremony merely because of who was handing them the award also seems a bit like an overreaction.  And an overreaction that could backfire, it is possible the public response will be “those spoiled film people don’t even deserve a ceremony, next year we should just mail them the awards”.  Or maybe it will be effective, giving a clear message that even one step backward is unacceptable.

 

 

That’s best-case scenario.  Worst-case scenario is that there is some kind of political message here that I don’t understand.  Something about only choosing 11 winners with pure political credentials to receive the award, or else choosing to exclude 120 winners who might have said something damaging to the President’s party.  That part I don’t know enough to interpret, to know if it is really here or not.

If it is really here, if that is the subtext of the snub and the response, then I will be interested in the fall out.  And I would (tentatively and in this totally hypothetical situation) be in support of the walk out.  Because these awards, not just the Film Awards but the Padma Shri and Gallantry Awards and others that are given by the President, are a foundational part of Indian society, they must (so far as is possible) be kept clean of the stink of partisanship.  And the President himself, as a figurehead, must as well.

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37 thoughts on “Discussion Post (News Snippet): National Award Walkout

  1. Though the decision of the awardees might seem like an over-reaction, I think they’re miffed that they’re not being treated equally. Either all get awarded by the president or none do and I think that’s fair. President decided that the 11 awards are somehow more important than the rest. What’s surprising is that people aren’t even questioning some of the outright misogyny (until the awardees themselves did). For e.g. Male playback singer he’d award but not female – why? How can a government endorse the fact that the male singer is more important that his female counterpart? Not just misogyny but ageism as well.
    Either way – the entire jury’s work over months and has been sort of shortchanged by this bizarre decision (and also the hopes of all the winners to get that photo of them receiving the award from the President)

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    • Oh, I hadn’t even thought about who was left off of the 11 list! I just looked at who was on it to see if there was someone who stood out as not belonging. You are right, that is ridiculous. Especially because 11 is such a random number, why not make it 12 or 8? Whatever would have made it a completely logical list.

      It does feel like maybe it was just “I’m President and these are the people I am interested in meeting, so I’m picking them”.

      On Thu, May 3, 2018 at 6:19 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. Margaret, you have expressed exactly what I was feeling when I read this news; that’s why I said I was still formulating my thoughts. When I first read the headline that people were boycotting the awards, my mind immediately flew to a review of the latest headlines, to see what social or political issue they were protesting about (which doesn’t mean it was necessarily an important issue. Recall the spate of National Award winners a few years ago “returning” their awards). Then I got to the actual article, and saw that it was because the President wasn’t going to give everyone their awards. And my reaction was, Man, Indians are too used to crying “Boycott!” and “Protest march” at the drop of a hat for every little thing. This seemed like a supremely silly thing to make a big deal about, especially when I read quotes like, “All my life I dreamed about getting my photo taken with the President when he handed me my award! and now I’ve been robbed!” I can understand that someone would dream all their life about getting the National Award, but really, they dreamed about the photograph?

    Then I started to read the list of awards he *would* present, and when the first two were the Dada Saheb Phalke award to Vinod Khanna, and the Best Actress award to Sridevi, my reaction was, “Ah! He’s only going to award dead people, which will really save time!” OK, then the rest of the list makes clear that he’s only giving out the National level awards — best film, best music, best editing, etc., and not the “state level” awards, like best film in a particular language, which is what really drags out the ceremony, as you read out all the categories for 15 or 20 different languages. So that’s the logic behind this system.

    Oh, and about the playback singer awards, are you sure that there was even a “best female playback singer” award given this year? Somewhere I read that they didn’t have it this year? So the omission was by the committee that determines the awards, not the President. The word “misogyny” gets thrown around a little too freely, IMO, sort of like the word boycott.

    Then I started reading all the discussions about how the date and the duration of the ceremony is known well in advance, so it could have been easily incorporated into the President’s schedule, and I see the merits of that argument as well. So at this point I don’t really have an opinion one way or another, except to say that it’s very unlikely that there is any political angle to it, just looking at the people who got the awards from him and who didn’t. There’s a vast mixture of all political views in both groups.

    By the way, the President doesn’t act only on the advice of the Prime Minister. S/he can and does take independent action, too, to safeguard the Constitution. That is why the President is the one who calls the elections — he can call for elections if he thinks the existing government is not fulfilling its duties constitutionally, for example — and he is also the one who decides who can form the government after the elections, in accordance with the constitution. While the declaration of the Emergency was certainly a watershed event of the Indian Presidency, the next most important exercise of Presidential power was by President Abdul Kalam, when he pointed out to Sonia Gandhi that she was ineligible to be the Prime Minister of India due to her dual citizenship in India and Italy.

    But do you know what really takes a LOT of the President’s time, and which is a total bore fest? It’s the administration of the oath of office to the Prime Minister and every single member of the cabinet after the election. I watched that ceremony on TV when the Modi government was elected, and I could only pity the people who were stuck on the grounds there to watch it in person. Presenting the National Awards couldn’t be any worse. 🙂

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    • Sasha Tirupati is the winner for Best Female playback singer for Vaan Varuvaan. All I’m saying is if he’s going to award the male singer, he should award the female singer. He probably thought – Yesudas I should award, but Sasha Tirupati – I can live without meeting – which honestly is very disrespectful.
      And the winners also said they’re ok if all the awards were going to be awarded by the ministers but the President wanted to award just 11 people, nothing more nothing less.

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    • I just checked and there was a female playback singer winner, Shashaa Tirupati who is young and female and Indo-Canadian, and Kashmiri (born in Srinagar). And absolutely deserved the award, she won for “Vaan” from Kaatru Veliyidai. But she is also almost the exact opposite of K.J. Yesudas, older and male and so on. I don’t think direct politics, but I could see if you were only picking 11 people, preferring the optics of shaking hands with a revered older male artists versus a young female international artist.

      It’s a strange thing, because I can believe it being an accidental insult, the ceremony changes just being a matter of logistics and 11 respectable revered people chosen to get the award, thinking no one would complain about that. But I can also see the other side of it being people seeing that the insult was still there, accidental or not, and wanting to point it out. I saw someone gave a quote that at least the Vice-President could have subbed in, which seems fair, the point of the ceremony still being an executive branch all-India recognition rather than just the head of the Broadcasting ministry. And of course it was handled terribly, not making the announcement of the change weeks in advance.

      On Thu, May 3, 2018 at 8:18 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • It certainly was a last minute surprise. If he had a set policy of not attending any event for more than an hour, then that was also known ahead of time, and the arrangements could have been made all around. The more I read, the more it seems like just an all around botch up, not any kind of conspiracy, and that applies to not including the female playback singer, too. As I said, the rest were all the “national best” in the various categories. Stupidity can explain most human behavior, and is much more common than any kind of complicated conspiracies.

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        • Oh good, then my “best-case” seems likely. It reveals a thoughtless insult to the film industry, so that’s still significant (I can’t imagine them being this stupid about the military award ceremonies, for instance), but very different from a conspiracy. Not sure what the best response would be, certainly it’s appropriate to point out “hey, this is not cool and you shouldn’t have done this!”, not sure if going all the way to a boycott is the best idea. But not sure what other response would have been better. A formal letter of protest distributed to the media maybe explaining their feelings? Just to make sure the slight was noticed and wouldn’t happen again?

          On Thu, May 3, 2018 at 8:40 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I still can’t help feeling the film people are acting like special snowflakes. “Boycott” just seems like the entirely wrong response. Whom does one boycott? The people you want to keep away from you. Now here the people *wanted* the President to come, so that doesn’t make sense. Now consider “what” does one boycott? You boycott a product either because you want it to disappear (as Indians boycotted British goods during the Independence Movement) or to take away economic returns which would lessen the ability of someone to do something you don’t like. Again this doesn’t seem applicable here. But it’s tricky to say what they *should* have done. I think the suggestion that all awards should be handed out by Smriti Irani was a fair one. Or the one about the Vice President taking over after the President left. The real problem here is the last minute nature or the change. And that might be due to sheer stupidity/ego/not thinking by the people responsible for making the arrangements for the ceremony. Again it seems like this was a last minute decision (when it clearly wasn’t, it was a set policy).

            I kind of like your efficiency expert theory.

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          • What’s really making me lean towards “efficiency expert” is the random choice of 11 as the number of awards given. Because that translates to 55 minutes (5 minutes per award) plus 5 minutes for opening and closing remarks and ta-da!!!! 60 minutes exactly! It makes complete sense, only in terms of time usage, and nothing else.

            On Thu, May 3, 2018 at 9:03 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I wonder if the people who *did* attend the ceremony will now be hounded by the boycotters? What kind of treatment will they get from now on from the “film fraternity?”

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  3. Its very disappointing and the sanctity of the award is lost. They chose the best artists across the country, invited them and then insulted them instead of honouring. If president was not willing to give awards, vice president should have given it and it should have been informed the awardees earlier. They were sent a letter promising president will give them the award and that has been the tradition for 64 years.
    And i dont understand why president is not willing to spend more than one hour for award functions. He is not running the country. This is his job and many of these awards considered prestigious only because it is given by president.
    I also heard smrithi irani, I&B minister who handed awards, didnt treat the awardees respectfully on the meetings held before awards. Many artists like Fahad fazil left delhi long before function began.

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    • It is different to have the I&B minister present rather than a representative of the executive branch. The I&B minister is, appropriately, sort of in a supervisory position to film. It feels like they are being giving rewards by a supervisor for obeying the rules, the same person who controls all the other little details of the industry. While the President, or even Vice-President, would be representing the nation as a whole and congratulating them for good work. If I somehow had been asked in the planning process, and given a good reason that the President couldn’t be there, I would have landed on the Vice President instead, or really anyone from a strictly executive elected by the whole nation role. Heck, even Chief Justice from the Supreme Court might have been a better option. Or the Speaker or a Former President, anyone like that who represents everyone.

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      • Exactly! The president is not politically aligned, and he is head of state. The president doesn’t represent any ideology.

        Now his office has apparently said that his 1 hour rule has in been place ever since he took office and the I&B ministry knew about it. Which I think points to that Smrithi Irani and co thought they’d announce this last minute so that they’d just be able to wing it and people won’t have time to react.

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        • I still think the one hour rule is stupid just on its own, you can’t make unilateral rules like that. But I can also see what you are saying, if that was the rule across the board, then it was up to Smita and co to say “this has to be the exception to the rule, it’s the longest award list of the year, we have to make it work”. Heck, if that was the rule and you are changing everything anyway, why not just have a whole series of hour long ceremonies or something like that.

          On Thu, May 3, 2018 at 10:20 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Totally! What sort of rule is that?? Also, when you sign up to be president, don’t you also sign up for all this that comes along with it.

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          • Exactly!!!!!!! That’s the whole point! The President is there to take the “dull lengthy ceremonial duties” bullet on behalf of the government. It’s the whole job! It’s why I always thought India was smarter in how they divided things than America, where the President really does have more important things to do than ceremonial stuff, and there isn’t anyone else to replace him. If scheduling is an issue, just schedule stuff better, don’t try a one size fits all solution.

            On Thu, May 3, 2018 at 10:26 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. Jayaraj, who won the best director award this year and who was not part of the 68 told a local news channel that when he received his first award in 1996, he received it from Rajkumar – I don’t know which Rajkumar he was referring to, probably the Kannada actor who was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award the previous year. He said he still has the picture in his wall, and he’s proud of it.
    So I don’t think it was ALWAYS the case that the President would give away all the awards (what if he had a cold that day?). The moment it was decided that the I&B Minister would give the awards, it became political. These could be the guys who protested against the ministry unilaterally removing “S Durga” & “Nude” even after the jury approving it (IFFI). It may not be a matter of pride for them to be seen in a photograph receiving an award from the said minister.
    I think it was only fair on the part of the 68 winners who boycotted the event and not an over reaction… All this while they were told that they were gonna receive it from the President of India and at the 11th hour being told that it’ll be by a politician who they don’t approve of – imagine Meryl Streep knowing at the last minute that she’s gonna receive an Oscar award from President Trump!(no acceptance speech for the National Awards, btw)
    I would blame the ministry for the shoddy handling of the situation – if they’d known it earlier, they could’ve got the VP or some ex-Dadasaheb winner and avoided the embarrassment.
    What’s worrisome is, given the arrogance of the minister, this might very well become a precedent – that the minister will award the majority of the awards and president only a few of them. This could very well mean Akshay Kumar winning the best actor award for the next 3-4 years! Whatever good work they did with the awards comes undone by the ceremony!

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    • It doesn’t seem like a function of this particular I&B minister necessarily (although she isn’t great), but rather the job itself. The whole point of that position is to have someone who supervises the film industry and tells them “no”. It’s never going to be pleasant to receive an award from that person, instead of someone who is neutral. Which, again, is the point of the President position! To have someone totally neutral with minimal political positions.

      Interesting point about the Oscars. I don’t think our President would be an exact comparison, but there is a tradition of past winners presenting the awards, rather than the Academy leaders. So it’s presented by a fellow artist you respect, not the producer who fired you, or the studio head who killed your dream project, or anyone like that.

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  5. It just occurred to me, Margaret, that you, and probably many of the people commenting, are too young to remember when the Academy Awards (aka “The Oscars”) telecast used to show *all* of the awards, including things like makeup, costume design, sound design, sound effects, special effects, etc., along with the “big” awards like the acting, directing, and best picture awards. Heck, they also used to have the Humanitarian awards on air. Then their ratings started to drop, mainly because the show was too long, especially for the people in the East Coast, who all had to go to work the next day. In order to accommodate them, the show began earlier and earlier, so you had the absurd sight of all the celebrities arriving mid-afternoon in the blazing sun (it is Southern California, after all!). sweltering away in their “evening” attire. So why not change the day from Sunday to Saturday night? No. Why not get rid of the stupid “presenters” and their unfunny blather before each award. Again No. Their solution was to drop all the “technical” awards from the telecast altogether (which were always the most interesting ones to me, anyway), and present them in a different ceremony altogether. For a while they used to show a kind of “Highlights” summary from that ceremony on the main telecast, which was extremely boring, since it was basically just a bunch of people walking on stage and getting their statue, while a brief caption flashed on screen for two seconds, with their name and the name of the award. Now I think even that bit of recognition has been dropped. But the presenters, their idiotic and scripted “conversation”, and now the over the top political speeches, continue, and their ratings still keep going down.

    Yeah, all that may not have anything to do with the Indian National Awards, but your talk of efficiency experts reminded me of this highly incompetent approach to “streamlining” a boring show. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve been watching the Oscars since I was 8 (so, 1993), but I skipped the past few years. It’s so simple, the best parts are always the acceptance speeches, hearing people speak from the heart about their own stories, and the worst parts are always the scripted things. And yet they keep cutting the acceptance speeches because the whole “live” part of it makes them nervous. At least, that’s how it feels to me. I keep comparing it with the FilmFare etc. awards where they have actual big dance numbers people want to watch and, more importantly, edit it down after the broadcast so they can keep the spontaneous touching speeches and cut the dull stuff.

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  6. What a mess and how disrespectful to the initial meaning of the National Award!
    I would have liked if none of the artists had taken his/her award under these circumstances. One could have split the ceremony so the president could have been able to do his duty towards the Indian filmindustry.
    Several film awards already have lost their reputation in a substantial way, now even the National Awards – already weakened through other controversies – border on the ridiculous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There is the possibility that the last minute notification was on purpose, no one would have shown up if they knew the President wouldn’t be there so they thought by only revealing it at the rehearsal, they could avoid that embarrassment. Not because of a boycott, but because the ceremony wouldn’t matter to them without him.

      On Fri, May 4, 2018 at 7:23 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • In a way, they showed more respect for the office of the President than the President did. The Artists said “no, there is something special about the President of India, the minister of broadcasting isn’t the same thing at all”, while the President said “what’s the difference, I’m the same as anyone else”.

      On Fri, May 4, 2018 at 4:02 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  7. As taxpayers, we’re funding a lifestyle for the president to do exactly these kinds of ceremonial honors. President Kovind is probably the least popular and least respected Presidents in recent times and he has gotten the seat merely because he happens to be a dalit that agrees with the right wingers.

    Contrast his behaviour to that of President Kalam. That man never complained. People looked forward to him doing ceremonies. His speeches are taught in schools and colleges as examples of exemplary public speaking.

    President Kovind, is actually a disgrace. And antics like these don’t help his cause. Smriti Irani, well, she’s really the dumbest female leader we’ve ever had and go add insult to injury, she didn’t even win an election to get there. So why should people who have worked hard in the industry be relegated to receiving honors from a third rate, 15 minutes of fame, TV actress who didn’t even get the votes to be in the office she’s been given? It’s an insult. People have a right to be pissed. And Smriti Irani and other politicos need to know they place in the scheme of things.

    Gawd i hope the next president is actually someone who knows how to keep the dignity of that office intact.

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    • What I am waiting for is some news outlet to track down the President’s schedule for the day and find out what, exactly, he was doing instead of presenting awards. I suspect the answer is something like “playing golf”.

      On Sat, May 5, 2018 at 11:49 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • Especially when the date is so much long known beforehand.
          Far too many incidents casted shadows on the Indian government…now another (avoidable) incident shows the lack of respect for those for whom one has vowed to care. What a glary pathetic display.

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          • Or a miscalculated attention seeking spree from an idiot who thinks she outranks the freaking President of India. This may sound sexist but an educated guess for this amount of cockiness points at whoshesleepingwid! 😂

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          • I got curious so I just checked his website. It was his only official activity that day. He went to Tamil Nadu the next day to do more ceremonial blah blah, so maybe he wanted to go to bed early before a travel day? But I think he could manage on a few hours less sleep in order to give people a once in a life time honor.

            On Sat, May 5, 2018 at 3:39 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Being a president is not obligatory, if he feels to old to work more than 1 hour a day, or needs a lot of sleep, maybe he is not the right person to do this job and should retire.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Good point. And can I point out that 90-something Queen Elizabeth is still managing most of her ceremonial duties, even if they last longer than an hour?

            On Sat, May 5, 2018 at 4:14 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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            Liked by 1 person

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