In a hat-tip to mainstream cinema in the north and the south, Hindi film Rocketry: The Nambi Effect was named the best feature film at the 69th National Awards announced on Thursday while Allu Arjun, Alia Bhatt and Kriti Sanon won the top acting honours.
Bollywood stars Bhatt and Sanon shared the best actress prize for their roles in Gangubai Kathiawadi and Mimi, respectively. Southern cinema sensation Arjun bagged the best actor award for the Telugu blockbuster Pushpa: The Rise. It is the first National Film Award for all three stars.
The National Film Award for best director went to Nikhil Mahajan for Marathi film Godavari.
The National Awards for 2021 were announced by filmmaker Ketan Mehta who headed the 11-member jury.
Pankaj Tripathi was named best supporting actor for Mimi and Pallavi Joshi the best supporting actress for The Kashmir Files.
The Kashmir Files, directed by Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri, also won the Nargis Dutt award for best film on national integration.
RRR won six awards. Its music director MM Keeravaani won the Best Music Director (Background Score) award. The SS Rajamouli-directed film also bagged awards for best popular film providing wholesome entertainment, best male playback singer for Kalabhairava, best special effects, best action director and best choreography.
In his Instagram stories, actor-director R Madhavan dedicated the award for Rocketry… to his parents and Nambi Narayanan, a former ISRO scientist whose life story inspired the film.
Alia Bhatt dedicated her win to Bhansali, the film’s crew, her family, her team and the audience. “This national award is yours.. because without you ALL none of this would be possible.. seriously!!! I am SO grateful.. I do not take moments like these lightly.. I hope to continue to entertain for as long as I can.. Love and light..” she wrote in her Instagram post. She also gave a shout-out to fellow best actress winner Kriti Sanon and said it was a “well deserved” win for the Mimi actor.
Sanon said it was a big moment for her to be recognised by the National Film Award jury. “This film will now hold a special place in my filmography for life,” Sanon told PTI.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s lavishly mounted biopic Gangubai Kathiawadi, on the powerful and much respected Kamathipura courtesan, won five awards. Besides best actress for Bhatt, Bhansali won two awards — for best screenplay writer (adapted) along with Utkarshini Vashishtha and best editing for the film. The film’s other awards were for best dialogue writer for Vashishtha and Prakash Kapadia and best make-up artist for Preetisheel Singh D’souza.
“I’m happy for everybody who has won… Good cinema gets acknowledged and a pat on the back from the government, and nationally and from a respectful jury, it always brings you joy,” an elated Bhansali told PTI.
While Allu Arjun is yet to share a reaction, an overwhelmed actor was seen celebrating the moment with the team of the film.
Shreya Ghoshal won the best female playback award for her song “Mayava Chaayavaa” for the film Iravin Ninzhal.
The original screenplay honour went to Malayalam film Nayattu and its writer Shahi Kabir.
The Indira Gandhi Award for best debut film of a director went to Malayalam film Meppadiyan, whereas the prize for best film on social issues was given to Assamese film Anunaad-the Resonance. Malayalam film Aavasavyuham” won the award for best film on environment conservation/preservation.
Shoojit Sircar’s Sardar Udham, a biopic on Indian revolutionary Udham Singh, won the award for best Hindi film as well as honours for best cinematography (re-recording final mixing), best production design and costume design.
“I’m thankful that the National Award jury has acknowledged it (film), they have given so much respect and love to the film. A film on this kind of revolutionary, Sardar Udham, which includes Bhagat Singh, and the Jallianwala (Bagh massacre) incident, and it somehow gets this recognition and respect. We remember films because of National Awards, and we also remember these films for a long time. I’m proud and honoured,” Sircar told PTI.
Pankaj Tripathi dedicated the award to his father, who passed away recently.
“This is unfortunately a period of loss and grieving for me. If Babuji was around, he would have been really happy for me. When I first got the National award mention, he was very proud and pleased. I dedicate this National Award to him and his spirit. Kriti also has won the Best Actress, so a huge congratulations to her,” Tripathi said.
Vivek Agnihotri, who is in the US, said he dedicates his award to victims of terrorism, especially Kashmiri Hindus.
Best director winner Mahajan said winning a National Award for the film was “a surreal feeling” as Godavari is closest to his heart.
Gujarati film Gandhi & Co. was named the best children film and Bhavin Rabari the best child actor for his role in Chhello Show, which also won the award for best Gujarati film.
Malayalam film Chavittu was recognised for best production sound recordist and Bengali film Jhilli for sound design.
Chandrabose’s song “Dham Dham Dham” from Telugu film Konda Polam won the best lyrics award.
Shershaah director Vishnu Vardhan won the special jury award for the biopic on Kargil war hero Vikram Batra.
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The jury received 280 feature films in 28 languages as entries.
The National Film Awards also announced winners for 24 non-feature film categories with the top prize going to producer-director Shrishti Lkhera for Ek Tha Gaon.
Asked about films releasing theatrically in 2022 winning the awards for 2021, Neerja Sekhar, Information and Broadcasting additional secretary, said, “As per the regulations, the eligible films were certified and released from 1st January 2021 to December 31, 2021.”
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