National Film Awards

Not to be confused with National Movie Awards.
This article is about the National Film Awards in India. For the Bangladesh awards, see National Film Awards (Bangladesh). For the Nepal awards, see National Film Awards (Nepal). For other national awards, see List of film awards.
National Film Awards
63rd National Film Awards
Awarded for Excellence in cinematic achievements for Indian cinema
Location Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi
Country India
Presented by Directorate of Film Festivals
First awarded 10 October 1954 (1954-10-10)
Last awarded 28 March 2016 (2016-03-28)
Official website

The National Film Awards is the most prominent film award ceremonies in India. Established in 1954, it has been administered, along with the International Film Festival of India and the Indian Panorama, by the Indian government's Directorate of Film Festivals since 1973.[1][2]

Every year, a national panel appointed by the government selects the winning entry, and the award ceremony is held in New Delhi, where the President of India presents the awards. This is followed by the inauguration of the National Film Festival, where the award-winning films are screened for the public. Declared for films produced in the previous year across the country, they hold the distinction of awarding merit to the best of Indian cinema overall, as well as presenting awards for the best films in each region and language of the country. Due to the national scale of the National Film Awards, it is considered the Indian equivalent of the American Academy Awards.[3][4]


The Awards were first presented in 1954. The Government of India conceived the ceremony to honour films made across India, on a national scale, to encourage the furthering of Indian art and culture. Since 1973, the Indian Directorate of Film Festivals administers the ceremony along with other major film events in India annually. It is the highest award given for films in India.

Juries and rules

The National Film Awards are presented in two main categories: Feature Films and Non-Feature Films. The juries are appointed by the Directorate of Film Festivals in India. Neither the Government nor the Directorate have influence over which films are selected for consideration and which films ultimately win awards. There are strict criteria as to whether a film is eligible for consideration by the jury panels. Over 100 films made across the country are entered in each category (Feature and Non-Feature) for the awards and deemed eligible each year.

A list of rules is presented every year in a document of regulations known as the National Film Award Regulations. The criteria for eligibility contains many clauses. Among them, there is a direct requirement for the makers of a film, and particularly the director, to be Indian nationals.[5] Films entering the competition should be produced in India, and in case of co-production involving a foreign entity, there are as many as six conditions which should be fulfilled in order for the film to qualify.[5] According to the criteria, in order to be eligible for consideration of the jury, a film should be certified by the Central Board of Film Certification between 1 January and 31 December. Whether a film is considered a feature film or a non-feature film shall be decided by the Feature Film jury. The eligibility list includes a section of rules determining which films shall not be eligible for entry in the competition.[5]


The Awards are categorised in three sections; Feature Films, Non-Feature Films and Best Writing on Cinema. With each section having its individual aims, Feature Film and Non-Feature Film sections 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, thereby promoting unity and integrity of the nation. The Best Writing on Cinema section aims to encourage the study and appreciation of cinema as an art form and dissemination of information and critical appreciation of the art form through publication of various books, articles, reviews, newspaper coverage and studies.[6]

In addition, a lifetime achievement award, named after the father of Indian cinema Dadasaheb Phalke, is awarded to a film personality for the outstanding contribution to the growth and development of Indian Cinema.[6][7]

All the award winners are awarded with a Medallion, cash prize and a certificate of merit. Six categories from Feature Films section, two from Non-Feature Films and Best Writing on Cinema sections each have been made eligible for Swarna Kamal (Golden Lotus Award) and rest of the categories for Rajat Kamal (Silver Lotus Award).[6]

Special Award

Feature Film Awards

Golden Lotus Award

Official name - Swarna kamal

Silver Lotus Award

Official Name: Rajat kamal

Best Feature Film in each of the languages specified in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India:

Best Feature Film in each of the languages other than those specified in Eighth schedule of the Constitution of India:

Discontinued Awards

Non-Feature Film Awards

Golden Lotus Award

Official Name: Swarna Kamal

Silver Lotus Award

Official Name: Rajat Kamal

Discontinued Awards

Writing on Cinema

Golden Lotus Award

Official Name: Swarna Kamal


  1. Official site Directorate of Film Festivals
  2. Film Festival
  3. "National Film Awards (India's Oscars)". Film Movement. Retrieved 2009-02-11.
  4. "We have lots to give the West: Rahman". The Hindu. 20 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-28.
  5. 1 2 3 55th National Film Awards Regulations. Eligibility. Pages 2–3.
  6. 1 2 3 "59th National Film Awards: Regulations" (PDF) (Press release). Directorate of Film Festivals. p. 2,4,12,14,22,24,25,30. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
  7. "Dadasaheb Phalke Award Past Recipients". Directorate of Film Festivals. Retrieved August 13, 2012.

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