In the history of the National Film Awards, this is the second time that the awards will be announced a year later. Moreover, the future of the controversial 2006 awards is still not clear today.
Although the Supreme Court has vacated the stay order given by the Mumbai High Court, the Information and Broadcasting ministry seems to be in no mood to announce the names of the winners.
This is strange because the I and B minister, Priyaranjan Dashmunshi, had last week gone on record to say that the awards would be announced “ in the next eight or ten days.”
Sources say that the ministry has decided not to announce the awards till it gets the final verdict from the Supreme Court.
A senior official said, “We want to be on the safe side. We can’t take time from the President to present the awards in advance and then cancel the function just in case something goes wrong. That would be very embarrassing.”
As a result, the ministry is waiting for the next hearing date of the case in Supreme Court. The ministry believes that may take 10 days or even a month. The announcement of the Dadasaheb Phalke Award has also been staggered.
On the other hand, the directorate of film festivals is expected to start inviting entries from the filmmakers and selection of various juries) of National Awards 2007), the moment the final judgment comes from the Supreme Court.
When asked about the rumours doing the rounds that the delay in the announcements could have something to do with Amitabh Bachchan winning the Best Actor Award (for Black), a senior director laughed and said, “That’s a joke. We admire Mr Bachchan and there is no pressure on us.”