51st National Film Awards Ceremony that took place on 3 February 2004 had announced the Best of Indian Cinema in 2003. The winners were awarded by the previous president of India, Dr.A.P.J.AbdulKalam while the winners of Feature Films, Non-feature Films, and Best Book on Indian Cinema categories were announced by the committee chairpersons Basu Chatterjee, Bhim Sen, and K.N.T.Shastry respectively. Winners of the Best Feature Films bagged the Golden Lotus Award (Swarna Kamal Award), Silver Lotus Award (Rajat Kamal Award), and Regional Awards.
The Bollywood movie Munna Bhai M.B.B.S won the Swarna Kamal Award for Best Popular Film with Wholesome Entertainment. The films Gangaajal and Koyi Mil Gaya have both won the Silver Lotus Awards under the category, Best Film on Social Issues. Pankaj Kapoor had won the Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the film Maqbool. Playback Sonu Nigam had won the award for his song Kal Ho Na Ho. The same movie had won an award for Best Music Direction by the trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. The award winners for Best Editing and Best Art Direction were both from Hindi film Industry for the movies Samay: When Time Strikes, and Meenaxi: A Tale of Three Cities respectively.
The movie Koi Mil Gaya had additionally won awards for Best Special Effects and Best Choreography by Saroj Khan. Actor Manoj Bajpai had achieved the Special Jury Award for the movie Pinjar. While those were the winners of Silver Lotus Award, the winner of the Regional Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi was given to the film Raghu Romeo. The movie Kaya Pocche Maya Se had won 2 Swarna Kamal Awards for Best Non-feature Film and Best Non-feature Film Direction.
The winner of Silver Lotus Award for Non-feature Film was the English and Hindi movie, An Encounter with A Life Living for Best Non-feature Film and the movie Aur Ghumantu Thhar Gaye for Best Anthropological/Ethnographic Film. The animated film, Jeo Aur Jeene Do was the winner of the Silver Lotus Award for Best Animation Film and the Award for Best Cinematography was awarded to Kaya Pocche Maya Se again. This film Kaya Pocche Maya Se directed and produced by Arvind Sinha was known to win the most awards in the year 2004 and also the movie Koi Mil Gaya bagged many awards in that year. The last category, Golden Lotus Award winner for Best Book on Indian Cinema was Bharatiya Jnanpith for the book, Filmi Jagat Mein Ardha Shakti Ka Romance.