President Pranab Mukherjee on May 3 gave away trophies to the winners of National Film Awards including the best film for Anand Gandhi’s ‘Ship of Theseus’ and most popular film to Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra-directed ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’.
‘Ship of Theseus’, a complex and philosophical film about an unusual photographer, a Jain monk and a stock broker, was given the best picture award which carries a Swarna Kamal and a cash prize of Rs 2,50,000.
Hansal Mehta and Rajkumar Rao were given the award for the best director (Swarna Kamal and Rs 250,000) and best actor (Rajat Kamal and Rs 50,000) for their biopic “Shahid” (Hindi) on slain lawyer-activist Shahid Azmi.
“I just tried to tell the story in the best way possible and when your attempts are recognised like this, it feels like a vindication. ‘Shahid’ was a challenging film and it was made at a time when the country is going through a deep polaristaion and at such times telling stories which address these issues directly is always a challenge,” Mehta told PTI.
Rao, who played the slain activist, said “I met Shahid’s family and they organised a small party for my win. They were equally happy like the way I am.”
Rao shared the best actor trophy with Suraj Venjaramoodu for Malayalam film ‘Perariyathavar’ which also won the award for being the best film on environment conservation.
Actress Geetanjali Thapa was conferred the best actress trophy for her role in Hindi film ‘Liar’s Dice’.
‘Ship of Theseus’s Egyptian actress Aida El-Kashef, who was not present, shared the best supporting actress award with Amruta Subhas for Marathi film ‘Astu’ while Saurabh Shukla won the best supporting actor for court-room drama ‘Jolly LLB’ which was also named the best Hindi film.
“I am delighted to win the first national award of my career. National award has its own dignity and place. Unlike other awards, this one is not a commercial award. I didn’t even know that my name was sent for it. It came to me as a soothing surprise,” Shukla told PTI.
‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’, a biopic on athlete Milkha Singh, won the award for the most popular film. The producer and director of the film received a Swarna Kamal and Rs 2,00,000 each. ‘Milkha’ also won the best choreography award for Ganesh Acharya.
Rupankar and Bela Shinde, who bagged the best male playback singer and best female playback singer awards, entertained the gathering with a rendition of their numbers – ‘E tumi kemon tumi’ from Bengali film ‘Jaatishwar’ and ‘Khura khura’ from Marathi movie ‘Tuhya Dharma Koncha’.
Indira Gandhi Award for best debut film went to director Nagraj Manjule for his critically-acclaimed Marathi film ‘Fandry’. Manjule and his producer received Swarna Kamal and Rs 1,25,000 each.
Nargis Dutt Award for best feature film on National Integration went to late Balu Mahendra directed Tamil film ‘Thalaimuraigal’. Mahendra’s grandson, who has also acted in the film, received the award on behalf his grandfather. The producer and director received a Swarna Kamal and Rs 1,50,000.
Marathi film ‘Tuhya Dharma Koncha’ was given the award for the best film on social issues.
Hindi film ‘Kaphal’ won the best children’s film whereas Fandry’s Somnath Avghade and Tamil film ‘Thanga Meengal’s Sadhana shared the best child artist award.
Both the original and adapted screenplay awards went to Kannada films. P Sheshadri won the award for his original screenplay in ‘December I’ while Panchakshari won the award for adapting ‘Prakruti’.
The best dialogue award went to Sumitra Bhave for Marathi film ‘Astu’.
In the regional language category, ‘Ajeyo’ won the best Asamese film directed by Jahnu Barua, ‘Bakita Byaktigato’ (Bengali), ‘December 1’ (Kannada), ‘Baga Beach’ (Konkani), ‘North 24 Kaadham’ (Malayalam), ‘Aajcha Diwas Majha’ (Marathi), ‘Thanga Meengal’ (Tamil) and ‘Na Bangaaru Talli’ (Telugu) were other winners.
‘Yellow’ (Marathi) and ‘Na Bangaaru Talli’ were given special mention by the jury. Ritiesh Deshmukh, the producer of the Marathi film, received the award.
The other language winning films were ‘The Coffin Maker’ (English), ‘RI’ (Khasi), ‘The Crossing Bridges’ (Sherdukpen). ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”s Ganesh Acharya won in the best choreography category.
In the best audiography category, John Abraham-produced political thriller ‘Madras Cafe’ won the award for location sound recordist and sound design while Malayalam film ‘Swapaanam’ won for re-recordist of the final mixed track.
Best editing award went to V J Sabu Joseph for the Tamil sports drama ‘Vallinam’ while the best production design was won by ‘Miss Lovely’ directed by Asim Ahluwalia.
In the best music direction category, ‘Jaatishwar’ won for the song while Tamil film ‘Na Bangaaru Talli’ received the award for the best background score. ‘Jal’ won for special effects. ‘Jaatishwar’ also won in the make-up and costume design cagtegories.
The award for the best book on cinema was given to Cinema Ga Cinema (Telugu) authored by veteran film journalist Nandagopal while Alaka Sahani (English) won the award for Best Film critic.
In the non-feature film category, ‘Rangbhoomi’ (Hindi) was honoured for the Best Film while ‘Kanyaka’ (Malayalam) directed by Christo Tomy won for being the ‘Best Film debut by a director’.
In this segment, ‘The Last Adieu’ (English) was given the award for the Best Biographical/Historical Reconstruction section while the award for Best Arts/Cultural film was shared by ‘The Lost Behrupiya’ (Hindi) and ‘O Friend, This Waiting!’ (English, Telugu).
‘The Pad Piper’ (English) was given the best Science and Technology film and the award for best promotional film was shared by ‘Chasing The Rainbow’ (English) and ‘Kush'(Hindi).
‘Foresting Life’ (Hindi, Assamese) was named the best environment film while ‘Gulabi Gang’ (Hindi, Bundelkhandi) won for the best film on social issues as well as for best editing.
Other non-feature films chosen for the awards include ‘Yugadrashta’ (Assamese) for best music direction, ‘The Quantum Indians’ (English) best educational film, Katiyabaaz (Hindi, Urdu, English) best investigative film and ‘Heyro Party’ (Bengali) the best film on family values.
In non-feature film category ‘Mandrake! Mandrake!’ (Hindi) won the award in the best short fiction film and best cinematograhy categories while ‘Chidiya Udh’ won for best direction and audiography.
‘Kankee O Saapo’ (Odia) won the best narration/voice over while the special jury award was shared by ‘Ananthamurthy – Not A Biography… But A Hypothesis’ (English) and ‘Tamaash’ (Kashmiri).
The special mentions were ‘Accsex’ (English, Hindi), ‘Candles In The Wind’ (Punjabi, Hindi), ‘Dharmam’ (Tamil) and ‘At the Cross Roads: Nondon Bagchi Life and Living’ (English, Bengali).