More than 70 recipients of this year’s National Film Awards have decided to skip the ceremony as President Ram Nath Kovind will present only 11 out of nearly 140 awards.

Expressing “surprise” at the “11th hour questions”, Rashtrapati Bhavan said in a statement that the president attends all award functions for a maximum one hour and this was conveyed to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

Meanwhile, in a letter to the Directorate of Film Festivals, the president’s office and the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, the artistes said they were “disheartened” on being given the update at the last minute.