Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari today said films are a manifestation of the fundamental principle of freedom which is dear to the country's constitutional framework.
He was speaking at the presentation ceremony of the 61st National Film Awards here where noted film personality Gulzar was given the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke award.
"Films in essence are a manifestation of the fundamental principle of freedom that is so dear to our constitutional framework and define the values of our nation," Tewari said.
"Freedom, which is the source of liberalism and diversity of thought and expression and it is this freedom that we have today gathered to celebrate which can only be preserved by protecting our liberal spaces with all the force at our command," he further said.
He said that as evidenced by the history of the world, the ideological contours of the globe will be divided between diversity and conformism, "with diversity representing the true essence of our constitutional values".
Tewari said "our cinema is truly a manifestation of the diverse unity and integrity that defines the very idea of India.
Tewari congratulated the award-winners and said the country had last year completed the centenary of cinema and it was on this day 101 years ago that Dadasaheb Phalke's motion picture was released.
Earlier, I&B Secretary Bimal Julka complimented the jury for selecting films for the honours.