The Dadasaheb Phalke Award is India’s highest award in the field of cinema. It is presented annually at the National Film Awards ceremony by the Directorate of Film Festivals, an organization set up by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The recipient is honored for their ‘outstanding contribution to the growth and development of Indian cinema and is selected by a committee consisting of eminent personalities from the Indian film industry. The award comprises a SwarnaKamal (Golden Lotus) medallion, a shawl, and a cash prize of ₹1,000,000 (US$13,000).
Presented first in 1969, the award was introduced by the Government of India to commemorate Dadasaheb Phalke’s contribution to Indian cinema. Phalke (1870–1944), who is popularly known as and often regarded as ‘the father of Indian cinema, was an Indian filmmaker who directed India’s first full-length feature film, Raja Harishchandra (1913).
The first recipient of the award was actress Devika Rani, who was honored at the 17th National Film Awards.
The national film awards are being held four years after the tradition was broken in 2018 when more than 50 award winners did not turn up at the 65th National Film Awards ceremony to protest against the change in the norm when President Ram Nath Kovind presented only 11 of the 137 awards.
In keeping with the over 60-year-old tradition, President Droupadi Murmu and information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur will on September 30 confer the 68th national film awards, two years after the Covid-19 pandemic suspended the prestigious event.