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New categories in NFA awards for 2009

NEW DELHI: The presentation of the 57th National Film Awards for 2009 tomorrow by President Pratibha Devisingh Patil will also demonstrate the acceptance of the need to upgrade the awards with she gives away five new technical category awards.


The nation’s highest award in cinema, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, will also be presented to veteran producer-director D Rama Naidu, at the function being held as in previous years in the plenary hall of Vigyan Bhavan. Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni will also be present on the occasion.


With this, the backlog in presentation of National Film Awards which had got delayed because of a legal case some years earlier has been wiped. While the awards for 2008 were given in February, those for 2009 are being presented now.


The technical awards have been instituted following the recommendations of the Expert Committee set up under veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal and other eminent film personalities and experts.


In audiography, two awards have been added: Location Sound Recordist, and Sound Designer. In music direction, an award for background Score has been introduced in addition to an existing award for Best Music Direction (Songs). In the category of best screenplay, three Awards have been instituted in place of the current award - for Adapted Screenplay, for Original Screenplay, and for Dialogues. Each of these awards carry a cash prize of Rs.50,000 each.


The cash prize for several awards in both feature films and non-feature films categories have been increased from the previous years. The Special Jury Award for Feature Films has been raised from Rs.1,25,000 to Rs.200,000.


The National Film Awards have been announced in three categories: Best Feature Film Category under the Chairpersonship of Ramesh Sippy; Non Feature Film Category under the Chairpersonship of Mike Pandey; and Best Writing on Cinema under the Chairpersonship of Samik Bandhopadhyay.


In the feature film category, the selection process for selecting the films returned to a two-tier system of selection. There were Regional Panels were constituted for pre-selection of films in different language categories: North- English, Punjabi, Dogri, Urdu, Bhojpuri, Rajasthani and Central Indian Languages; West- Marathi, Hindi, Gujarati and Konkani; South I- Tamil and Malayalam and South II - Kannada, Telugu and Tulu; East- Bengali, Assamese, Oriya and dialects spoken in Northeast


Each Regional Panel comprised of a Chairperson and one member (both of whom would be from outside the region) and three other members from with the region. The screenings of the Regional panel as well as the Central jury were held in Delhi. The Central jury comprised of a Chairperson plus ten Members, of whom five were the Chairpersons of the five regional juries. The Chairperson for the Northern Region was Ms. Sushma Seth, for the Western Region M S Sathyu, for South – I Region T S Nagabharna, for South- II Region Pinaki Choudhry; and for the Eastern Region B Lenin.


Dr Ramanaidu is the forty-first recipient of the award instituted in 1969 - the birth centenary of D G Phalke, who is generally regarded as the father of Indian cinema as he produced the country’s first indigenous award ‘Raja Harishchandra’ in 1913. Dr Ramanidu is the tenth producer to have received the award.


The award consists of a Swarn Kamal, a cash prize of Rs one million and a shawl. The award is given on the basis of recommendations of a Committee of eminent persons.

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