The highly-anticipated 67th National Film Awards, which was delayed by nearly a year due to the pandemic, was announced on Monday in New Delhi.
Bollywood veteran actor Manoj Bajpayee’s rendition of a retired Mumbai cop in Bhonsle and Tamil actor Dhanush’s rugged portrayal of a lower caste farmer in Asuran, jointly bagged them the coveted National Best Actor award, while Kangana Ranaut, who immediately released a video on Twitter thanking everyone involved in the making of her ode to warrior queen, Manikarnika, walked away with the Best Actress award.
After receiving the award Bajpayee said, “I really think, this is not an award for me but for all of those guys who backed the film. Bhonsle completed its journey with this National Award, I am only feeling thankful and nothing else.”
The Best Feature Film went to Malayalam film, Marakkar: Lion of the Arabian Sea directed by popular director Priyadarshan. The film, which also won Best Special Effects, told the story of the legendary Kunjali Marakkar IV and his epic warfare against the Portuguese. Powerhouse Tamil actor Vijay Sethupathi bagged the Best Supporting Actor award for his memorable role as a transgender in Super Deluxe.
Pallavi Joshi won the Best Supporting Actress for her role in Tashkent Files. Reacting to the news, she told Indian Express, “When I heard Vivek’s name in best dialogues for The Taskent Files, I screamed in excitement, and then came my name, I wasn’t expecting it, but this is such a great honour. Very proud of the film, of Vivek, and it has been a fulfilling journey getting back on screen, this is like the biggest validation.”
These awards, given by the Directorate of Film Festivals, under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, is bestowed on films and artistes in recognition for their work in 2019.
The jury went through 461 feature films and 220 non-feature films before zeroing in on the winners.
The Best Director award went to director Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan for his film, Bahattar Hoorain. This dark comedy is about two people, who are in search of 72 virgins in their afterlives, according to the director.
Chauhan, who is winning his second National award told Indian Express, “There’s still some time for this news to sink in! But I am extremely happy, overwhelmed in fact. Honestly, the competition was so tough. After all, it is the National Award. So, I was hoping that we would get at least something but the best director honour? I didn’t imagine that.”
The Best Cinematography award went to the tense, fast-paced drama revolving around a bull chase – Jallikattu (Malayalam); the Best Children’s Film was bagged by Kastoori, a powerful Hindi drama about a boy who cleans toilets and performs post-mortems in order to pay for school.
Among regional films, the Best Hindi Film went to Chhichhore. Nitesh Tiwari, the director told reporters, “We are filled with mixed emotions because on one hand there is the happiness of getting a win and on the other hand there’s the feeling of loss of someone I was very close to. But I am sure Sushant would be very happy with this win wherever he is.” The Best Telugu Film went to Jersey, Best Tamil Film to Asuran, and Best Kannada Film to Akshi.
Tamil film Viswasam bagged the Best Songs award prompting its composer D Imman to gush on Twitter, ‘It’s pure joy to receive national-level recognition for Tamil music!’ Best Female Playback Singer went to Bardo (Marathi) and Best Male Playback Singer to Kesri for ‘Teri Mitti ‘(Hindi).
The Best Original Screenplay was bagged by Kaushik Ganguly for Jyeshthoputro, while Best Dialogues went to Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri, Takshent Files. Sikkim was adjudged as the most film-friendly state and the Best Book on Cinema was A Gandhian Affair: India’s Curious Portrayal of Love in Cinema by Sanjay Suri.