Legendary Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee was today conferred the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke award by Vice President Hamid Ansari who also gave away trophies to the winners of the 59th National Film Awards including “The Dirty Picture” star Vidya Balan.
77-year-old Chatterjee was given a huge round of applause and a standing ovation by the audience as he received the Swarna Kamal (golden lotus) medallion,a cash prize of Rs 10 lakh and a shawl. He hurried back to his seat only to be stopped and requested to speak by Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni.
“I’m really not in the frame of mind to say anything. I have always been in doubt about my work. I always thought that entertainment business was not worthwhile… For 50 years I have been accepted and loved by my countrymen. They are the reason I have come this far,” he said.
Making his debut in Satyajit Ray’s “Apur Sansar”,he went on to enjoy a great actor-director relationship with Satyajit Ray by starring in classics like “Charulata”,”Ghare Baire”,”Devi” and “Aranyer Din Ratri”.
The best feature film trophy was shared by Umesh Kulkarni directed Marathi film “Deool” and “Byari”. It comes with a Swarna Kamal and a cash prize of Rs 2,50,000.
Bollywood was represented by actress Balan,who accepted her best actress trophy for “The Dirty Picture”.
“It is a huge honour and I have come with my parents. I am lucky to be the part of the industry at a time when roles are being written for Indian heroines. They are not simply good or bad. They are portraying characters with different shades,” said the 34-year-old star,who wore a pink saree.
“Deool” lead star Girish Kulkarni accepted the trophies for the best actor and best dialogue writer at the awards. The best actor and actress get a Rajat Kamal and Rs 50,000 each.
“It is great honour not only to our film but for the regional cinema and Marathi film industry. Filmmaking is a team effort and we all feel happy to get our film recognised.
I have won two awards,so the happiness is double for me,” Girish said.
Gurvinder Singh from Punjab won a Swarna Kamal and Rs 2,50,000 for the best director award for his film “Anhe Ghorey Da Daan”,which also won awards for best cinematography and best Punjabi film.