May 3, 2017
Veteran filmmaker Priyadarshan, who chaired the feature film jury of the 64th National Film Awards and has courted criticism for choosing Akshay Kumar as Best Actor, says their decision may be slammed, but he stands by it.
Without directly talking about the controversy, Priyadarshan said at the awards distribution ceremony here on Wednesday: 'People might appreciate or criticise, but the jury's decision is final, and has to be appreciated.
'We have given importance to movies with social issues that show our culture, our beliefs and project India. These are the major points we looked into while deciding the winners.'
Akshay, who often wears his patriotism on his sleeve in movies, bagged the Best Actor for 'Rustom' -- a choice not many felt was apt, given that the year saw some power-packed performances like that by Aamir Khan in 'Dangal'.
Priyadarshan, who has worked closely with Akshay, said the process of selection went on for two months, and 'it was hard for them to decide' the winners.
Union Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu expressed his support.
Ahead of the ceremony, he tweeted: 'Toughest task in National Film Awards is to select the best from many entries. Commendable that jury saw over 600 films and read 30 books to decide.
'Over the years, credibility of National Film Awards has increased thanks to the utmost sincerity, honesty and neutrality of the jury members.'