The National Film Awards gets presented every year by the President of India at Vigyan Bhavan,
New Delhi every year. It is an award which was instituted by the DFF, to felicitate the best of Indian cinema released in the previous year. The ceremony takes place anytime from May to June. Both Doordarshan and AIR broadcast live the awards ceremony from Vigyan Bhavan. The National Film Awards get announced in the month of March every year and the highest award ‘Dadasaheb Phalke Award’ is given to an eminent film personality for his/her exceptional gift to the growth and improvement of Indian movies. The winner of this award is picked by a jury consisting of famous celebrities from the Indian cinema industry. The award carries a 'Swarna Kamal Medal', a cloak and a reward of ₹1,000,000. The first receiver was actress Devika Rani in the year 1969.
Another award that is given during this ceremony is the Golden Lotus Award (Swarna Kamal), which is given for the Best Feature Film. It is given for feature films produced in that year, in all Indian languages, across the country. It was awarded in all years except in 1979. Films in the following languages have won the Best Feature Film award: Bengali (22 awards), Hindi (13 awards), Malayalam (11 awards), Kannada (6 awards) so far. Since 1953 to 1956, only President's Gold medal was given. It was from the year 1995 that a cash prize was announced to the producer and the director of the movie. In the year 1995, a Swarna Kamal (medal) and a cash prize of Rs 50,000 was given to the producer/director.
From 2004 to present, a Swarna Kamal medal and a cash prize of ₹ 2, 50,000 are awarded. From the year 1974, a new category of National Film Award for best popular film providing wholesome entertainment was announced. The first film to receive this award was Anil Ganguly’s movie ‘Kora Kagaz’. The Indira Gandhi Award for Best Debut Director of a film was launched in the year 1980, and so far 39 directors have been the beneficiaries of this award. Special Jury Award / Special Mention (Feature Film) was initiated in the year 1978, and it includes 'Rajat Kamal' (Silver Lotus), a cash prize of ₹2,00,000 and certificate of merit for the recipients.
In the year 1967, Best Direction award was instituted, and this comprises of a Swarna Kamal (Golden Lotus) medal, a cash prize of ₹ 2,50,000 and a certificate.
Satyajit Ray was the first recipient of this award. National Film Award for Best Actor/ Actress, officially known as the Rajat Kamal Award for the Best Actor/actress was instituted in the year 1967. The first recipient was
Uttam Kumar for the films 'Anthony Firingee' and 'Chiriyakhana'. Actress Nargis Dutt was given the best actress award for the film 'Raat Aur Din'.
Kamal Haasan, and Mammootty won this award thrice respectively while actress
Shabana Azmi won five times. National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor/Actress, officially known as the Rajat Kamal Award for the Best Supporting Actor was instituted in the year 1984; it carried a cash prize of ₹50,000 and a silver lotus medal.
National Film Award for Best Child Artist was instituted in 1968, and so far 52 child actors have been the recipient of this award. The National Film Award (Silver Lotus Award) for Best Male/ female Playback singer and best music director was started in the year 1967. Other category awards are also announced every year. There is a involvement of innumerable technicians such as cinematographer, editors, sound engineer, and set designer, etc. and each category constitutes a medal and a cash prize for the recipients.