Committee recommends new categories for National Film Awards; jury selection process

MUMBAI: An Expert Committee presented its recommendations for the National Film Awards to Information and Broadcasting minister Ambika Soni. New awards have been recommended in Feature and Non-Feature categories and cash prize of certain awards have been enhanced.

The chairman of the Expert Committee on National Film Awards Shyam Benegal, presented the Committee’s report to Soni along with Sharmila Tagore and Rajiv Mehrotra.

Soni said,“The Ministry will now process the recommendations made by the Committee.”

Also present on the occasion were I&B secretary Raghu Menon, special secretary Uday Kumar Varma, director film festival S.M. Khan and joint secretary (films) D.P. Reddy.

Amongst the key recommendations of the Committee, the first relates to the constitution of the Jury. It has recommended that there should be a two tier viewing of films by Jury to facilitate the selection process. It has proposed a Central Jury and five Regional Juries to cover languages in different regions. It has also outlined guidelines for the regional jury composition.

In view of the need to fine tune the awards, according to the emerging realities of cinema, the Committee has recommended the constitution of new awards in the sphere of audiography, music, best screen play and dialogue. In order to make the nomenclature of Awards more contemporary, the Committee has recommended the Award for Best Art Direction be called Best Production Design. It has recommended the raising of  the number of awards in the feature film category from 31 to 34. It has also recommended raising the cash prize for special jury award feature films from Rs 1,25,000 lakhs to Rs 2 lakhs.

For the non-feature film category also, the committee has made some key recommendations. It has recommended the awards for the categories of environment, agriculture and education may be split in two categories, namely Best Educational Film and Best Film on Environment. The cash component of Awards for Best non-feature Film & Best Direction may be enhanced from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakhs and brought on par with Feature Films. Best Scientific film should be called Best Science & Technology Film.

The Committee also recommended raising of Cash Component of Special Jury Award from Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh and the Cash Component of Best First Non-feature Film Award should be increased from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1,25,000 each and it should be at par with the similar award in the feature film category.

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