Oscar-winner sound designer Resul Pookutty has criticised the change in schedule that saw President Ram Nath Kovind honour only 11 of the 125 winners at the National Film Awards, saying it deprived the "smallest" of the people, the technicians, their moment of glory. More than 60 filmmakers decided to stay away from the award ceremony after they were informed just a day before that the president will not be giving all the awards this year, a decision that has attracted widespread criticism from the industry.
Pookutty, in a scathing Facebook post, said the National Film Awards were the only place where talent was recognised and not the stardom, but that changed this year. "The Hon President mentioned in His speech at the National Award Ceremony that 'it is indeed a special moment for each of the 125 Award winners'! I do not know if it was special for all of them but I'm sure it was special for some of them!," Pookutty wrote.
Citing the president's speech that there are 200,000 people directly and many more indirectly working in the film industry, he said, "Yes that is true. Most of the people who abstained from the ceremony yesterday consists of the majority of that 200,000. They are the work force...They work behind the camera, they carry heavy lights, they carry heavy equipments, they swing booms, they push trolleys, they work more than 18 hours a day! When your good office had given time to hand over the National Award to only 11 members out of the 125, it is those smallest people in the whole spectrum who got sidelined! Their aspirations and ambition got crushed!"
"We felt bad because when your good office chose from the bottom of the list it was only the stars and star elements got picked up! Or those 11 people could have been the young and first time awardees! We would have clapped in joy at Your choice...The people who got left out were those raw people, the technicians who are always called first in every award ceremony and edited out in every TV show. Stars don't care for us, businesses don't care for us, we thought our nation would care for us! But I felt the nation's sentiment got left out in the choices that were made yesterday, for it's the technicians who always get the raw deal!," he said. Pookutty said the winners were willing to come back the next day if it meant getting the award from the President, who could spare only one hour for the ceremony.