Was Canadian citizen Akshay Kumar eligible for National Award?

Akshay Kumar and Surabhi Lakshmi
Akshay was honored for his portrayal of a patriotic naval officer in Rustom, a court room drama directed by Tinu Suresh Desai, which is loosely based on the 1959 Nanavati murder case. From L to R, Best Actor awardee Surabhi Lakshmi, Best Child Artist awardee Adish Praveen and Best Actor awardee Akshay Kumar. File photo
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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."

64th National Film Awards
Actors Sonam Kapoor, Surabhi Lakshmi and Akshay Kumar at the 64th National Film Awards.

However following the rulebook of the Directorate of Film Festivals, the organisation 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."

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 criticised for talking about patriotism despite not being an Indian citizen.

Was Candian citizen Akshay Kumar eligible for National Award?

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.

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