National Film Awards were offered by Indian Ministry of Broadcasting and Information to award the best of the films released in India in 1961. The awards were then known by the name of State Awards and were presented on 21 April 1962. The awards were given in Vighyan Bhavan in
New Delhi and were given by the then Hon’ble Vice President of India Dr.SarvepalliRadhakrishnan. Awards were strategically divided between the feature and non-feature movies.
The National Film Award for the Best Feature Film, then known by the name of President’s Gold Medal for All India Best Feature Film was won by Bhagini Nivedita, a Bengali movie, produced by the Aurora Film Corporation and directed by Bijoy Bose. The film was based on the life Bhagini Nivedita (as called by the people) who was a social worker of Scots-Irish origin. Today’s National Film Award for Best Children’s Film which was then known as the Prime Minister’s Gold Medal was won by Hattogol Vijay, a Hindi movie, directed by Raghunath Goswami and Buju Das Guptaand produced by Hari S. Dasgupta Productions.
The awards also rewarded the President’s Silver Medal for the Best Feature Film now known by the name National Film Award for the Best Feature Film in a specific language. And also the Certificate of Merit which is now discontinued in all the categories. The President’s Silver Medal for the Best Feature Film was not given in Kannada, Odia, and Gujarati language, they were instead awarded a Certificate of Merit. Non – Feature film awards were also given to the educational films and documentaries which were made in the country.
The President’s Gold Medal for Best Documentary Film was won by the longer version of the documentary, Rabindranath Tagore, an English documentary which was produced by Films Division and directed by
Satyajit Ray. It was a black and white documentary based on the works and daily life of the Indian Bengali author Rabindranath Tagore. The Prime Minister’s Gold Medal for Best Educational Film was won by the documentary, Citrus Cultivation, an English language educational documentary which was produced by Films Division and direction by Krishna Kapil. There were also such awards which, was not backed by any film as no films were considered suitable for such awards. The awards namely, are President’s Silver Medal for the Best Feature Film in Kannada and President’s Silver Medal for the Best Feature Film in Oriya.