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Benegal presents report on National Film Awards to Soni

Chairman of Expert Committee on National Film Awards Shyam Benegal presenting the report to the Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Ambika Soni, in New Delhi on May 11, 2010. Sharmila Tagore and Rajeev Mehrotra are also seen.
Chairman of Expert Committee on National Film Awards Shyam Benegal presenting the report to the Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Ambika Soni, in New Delhi on May 11, 2010. Sharmila Tagore and Rajeev Mehrotra are also seen.

Eminent film-maker Shyam Benegal, the Chairman of the Expert Committee on National Film Awards, presented the committee's report to Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting (I&B) Minister Ambika Soni here today.

Two other members of the panel, actress Sharmila Tagore and documentary film-maker Rajiv Mehrotra, I&B Secretary Raghu Menon and Director of Film Festivals S M Khan were amongst those present on the occasion.

The committee was constituted at the initiative of Ms Soni to make recommendations to the Government for upgradation of the National Film Awards to make them more contemporary.

According to an official press release, the committee studied in detail the various categories of awards, the mode of selection of awards by the jury as well as the awards function.

One of the key recommendations of the committee 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 composition of the regional juries.

In order to fine tune the awards according to the emerging realities of cinema, the committee has recommended the constiution of new awards in the sphere of audiography, music, best screenplay and dialogue. To make the nomenclature of the awards more contemporary, it has recommended that the award for Best Art Direction should be called Best Production Design.

It has recommended an increase in 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 lakhs to Rs 2 lakhs.

For the non-feature film category, the committee has recommended that the awards for the categories of Environment, Agriculture and Education may be split in two categories -- Best Educational Film and Best Film on Environment.

The cash component of Awards for Best Non-Feature Film and Best Direction should be enhanced from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakh and brought on par with Feature Films, it said.

According to the committee, the Best Scientific Film should be called Best Science & Technology Film. The committee also recommended raising of the cash component of Special Jury Award from Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh and that of Best First Non-Feature Film Award from Rs. 50,000 to Rs 1,25,000.

The other members of the committee were Ms Sai Paranjpye, Mr Ashok Vishwanathan, Mr Vishal Bhardwaj, Mr Nagesh Kukunoor, Mr Mohan Agashe, Ms. Waheeda Rehman, Mr Jahnu Baruah and Mr Shaji Karun.

Ms Soni appreciated the efforts made by the committee and said the Ministry would now process the recommendations.

The National Film Awards were instituted in 1954 and aim at encouraging the production of films of aesthetic and technical excellence, and social relevance contributing to the understanding and appreciation of cultures of different regions of the country in cinematic form and thereby also promoting integration and unity of the nation.

NNN

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