Actor Akshay Kumar, who said he has Canadian citizenship, was questioned on social media about winning the National Award. However, filmmaker Rahul Dholakia supported the actor, and said that "foreign nationals can get National Awards."
On Saturday, several social media users including National award-winning film editor and writer, Apurva Asrani questioned Akshay on being a National Award-winner.
Asrani tweeted, "Are Canadian citizens eligible for India's National Awards? The year (2016) Akshay Kumar won 'Best Actor', we were expecting Manoj Bajpayee to win for 'Aligarh'. If the jury/ministry has made an error in Kumar's case, will there be a revote?!"
Yes, this is a very important question. Are Canadian citizens eligible for India's National Awards? The year (2016) Akshay Kumar won 'Best Actor', we were expecting Manoj Bajpayee to win for Aligarh. If the jury/ministry has made an error in Kumar's case, will there be a revote?? https://t.co/CvFRzw5aXS— Apurva (@Apurvasrani) May 4, 2019
However, following the rulebook of the Directorate of Film Festivals, the organization that presents the National Film Awards under the section of eligibility of a candidate, it reads, "Film professionals and technicians of foreign origin can also be considered for awards."
Filmmaker Rahul Dholakia, who has also been part of the jury of the National Film Awards earlier, took to Twitter to clarify the matter.
Sharing a screenshot of the rulebook, he wrote, "Clarification on National Award -- foreign nationals can get National Awards. it's legal, legit and by the books have been on the jury (not for this one) and so found out from an official Manoj Srivastava who sent me this."
Clarification on National Award- foreign nationals can get National Awards . it’s legal, legit and by the booksI have been on the jury ( not for this one) and so found out from an official Manoj Srivastava who sent me this. ðÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂ½ #NationalAward pic.twitter.com/wrAORcPdLC— rahul dholakia (@rahuldholakia) May 4, 2019
Akshay was honoured with the "Best Actor Award" for "Rustom" in 2016.
Earlier this week, the "Khiladi" star faced flak on social media after he interviewed Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He was also criticized for talking about patriotism despite not being an Indian citizen.
On Friday, expressing his disappointment over the criticism, Akshay released a statement about his Canadian citizenship and said that he did not understand the negativity and "unwarranted interest" around the subject.
Taking to his twitter handle, the actor wrote, “I really don’t understand the unwarranted interest and negativity about my citizenship. I have never hidden or denied that I hold a Canadian passport. It is also equally true that I have not visited Canada in the last seven years. I work in India, and pay all my taxes in India.”
“While all these years, I have never needed to prove my love for India to anyone, I find it disappointing that my citizenship issue is constantly dragged into needless controversy, a matter that is personal, legal, non-political, and of no consequence to others,” he wrote further.
He signed off by saying, “Lastly, I would like to continue contributing in my small way to the causes that I believe in and make India stronger and stronger.”
On the film front, Akshay was last seen in Anurag Singh’s Kesari. The period war drama, jointly produced by Dharma Productions, Cape of Good Films and Azure Entertainment, went on to collect over Rs 150 crore at the box-office to become Akshay’s highest-grossing film ever.
(With inputs from agencies)