Assamese director and noted critic Utpal Datta says he has written to President Ram Nath Kovind requesting him to include an award for the third gender or transgender people at the National Film Awards.
Datta, best known for his projects "By Lane 2", "Through Trust and Fear", "Bohubritta" and "Ji Galpar Ses Nai", said the inclusion will not only embolden the artistes belonging to the third gender but will also help them attain due recognition and social status which they have been deprived of for years.
"Since the government has recognised the third gender in all its government activities, I strongly believe even the National Film Awards should extend their support to encourage this marginalised section of society by including them in its various gender-based award categories," Datta said.
The National Film Awards, administered by the Indian government's Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF), already acknowledge three genders marked awards in categories of best actor, best-supporting actor and best singer - for both male and female, he said.
"I am optimistic that the inclusion of the third gender would enrich these categories."
Besides, the film fraternity would be at an advantage collaborating with more individuals with potentials and talents, he said.
Datta also referred to the Supreme Court's landmark judgement in 2014 in which the apex court recognised the third gender in various aspects by giving them equal rights in the field of education, medical or various work fronts.