The 17th national film awards ceremony took place in the year 1969 presented by the Ministry of information and broadcasting. It was an achievement year for director of Bhuvan Shome, and after that year a new award was introduced named as ‘Dadasaheb Phalke’ Award, which after a period became the most coveted award of the Indian cinema. Devika Rani Chaudhuri Roerich was the one who got the life achievement award for the same year awarding ‘Dadasaheb Phalke’ Award with Sawan Kamal, prize money of 11,000 and a shawl.
The Bengali Film ‘Bhuvan Shome’ swept the National Film Award, winning three awards including the top awards for best-featured film, best actor, and best direction award. Dibratrir Kabya is still considered a landmark movie. Director ‘Bimal Bhowmick and Narayan Chakraborty’ gave it effortlessly charming naturalness. The picture is even today master of realism. The ceremony took place at University Centenary Auditorium, Madras on 21st November. Some of the famous celebrities pleasured the award ceremony by their presence. The Raj Kapoor performed especially for Indian Navy on that evening. Whereas Indian Navy chief Admiral Nanda was there to cherish the moment. The famous actor Prithvi Raj Kapoor too was there with her wife.
\The melodious singer Jay Kishan and singer Mohammad Rafi, David Chacha, attractive Simi and Dara Singh with his children came to the 17th film awards. On the other side Prem Chopra, Sadhana and the famous and talented, the queen of everyone’s mind Helen was also there that evening. Helen gave a beautiful performance, and even Jeetendra Kapoor stole the show with his dance performance. The event was organised after the formation of six different committees which were mainly taken by the film producing sector in India, which include Bombay, Calcutta and Madras with award categories. Justice G. D. Khosla headed the central committee for the event. Tara Ali Baig settled the documentary, and Amrita Pritam took care of short films.
The event had two kinds of awards that evening one was for the featured films, and the other was for the non-featured. The President’s gold medal for the best-featured film all over India was afterwards named as national film award and given for best-featured films. The same award is now given at state level for particular language. The certificates of merit were not given anymore that evening as it’s been decided to discontinue. Finally, the award ceremony ended with the memorable performance by actress Babita Hari Kapoor, and it made the evening a moment to cherish for the rest of the time.