Deepika Padukone, for portraying an acid attack survivor; prolific actor Akshay Kumar for his high-octane performance as a man possessed with a revengeful spirit of a transgender; and other actors such as Sushmita Sen, Bobby Deol and Kiara Advani from the OTT space, walked home with the Dadasaheb Phalke awards 2021 on Saturday (February 20).
The Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Awards, which honour the best in film, television, music and the new kid-on-the-block, OTT, were announced at a glittering, red-carpeted award ceremony held in Mumbai.
The late Sushant Singh Rajput, who died by allegedly committing suicide last year in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic outbreak, leaving all his fans shocked and grieving, won the award for his dedication to his craft. Rajput, who was last seen in a tragic love tale, Dil Bechara, which released after his death, was posthumously given the Critic’s best actor award.
The awards seemed to follow box-office favourites, as the best film honour went to 2020’s highest box-office grosser – the Ajay Devgn-Saif Ali Khan starrer Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior. This period film based on the life of a legendary military leader in the Maratha empire, Tanaji Malusare, had in fact courted trouble for reportedly distorting history. Kajol also acted in the film, playing Malusare’s wife and it was directed by a debutante director, Om Raut.
The award for best actor (female) went to Deepika Padukone, for telling the story of acid attack survivor Laxmi Aggarwal with sensitivity and nuance in Meghna Gulzar’s Chhappak. The best actor in a supporting role went to her co-star in the film, Vikram Massey, who plays Bablu Pandit in the popular gangster feast in UP, web-series Mirzapur.
Though, Akshay Kumar was horribly panned for his role in the remake of the Tamil hit comedy, Kanchana, he has bagged the best actor (male) for his role in Laxmii, which landed on an OTT platform last year. Akshay Kumar, who has nearly four films waiting to be released this year, including Sooryavanshi, Bell Bottom, etc., however failed to amuse audiences and the critics too were not happy.
His co-star Kiara Advani however walked off with the Critic’s best actress award for her role in an OTT film, Guilty. She had played a college girl, who suffers from trauma having been sexually abused as a kid, and has to deal with her boyfriend raping her batchmate. Advani, who played some gutsy roles in Lust Stories and the heroine in the controversial, romantic drama, Kabir Singh took to social media to thank all the people involved in the film, and also to the public for rooting for her. “..my heart is so full,” a happy Kiara wrote.
In the OTT films category, which was a new one this year, awards went to actors like Sushmita Sena and Bobby Deol, whose careers have got a boost with these roles. Sen, who attended the awards in a eye-catching black dress, bagged the trophy for best actor in a web-series (female) for her performance in Disney Plus Hotstar show Arya. She plays a rich man’s wife, who has to survive in a web of deceit, after her husband is suddenly gunned down.
While Bobby Deol, who had almost disappeared from Bollywood, was declared the best actor in a web-series (male) for Ashram, directed by Prakash Jha. An esctatic Deol posted a picture with the trophy and hugging his mother with these words on Instagram: “To be in this moment with my mother.”
The best director award went to Anurag Basu, for his black comedy, Ludo, featuring an ensemble cast. There are four wildly different stories here involving a sex tape, a suitcase full of money and fate, chance and an eccentric criminal thrown into the mix. A predictable win came Radhika Madan’s way when she bagged the best actor in a supporting role award for her performance in Homi Adajani’s dramedy Angrezi Medium, co-starring the late Irrfan Khan.
The award that was deserving went to Hansal Mehta’s acclaimed show Scam 1992 for best series. It stars Pratik Gandhi, who has received rave reviews for the show, as the infamous stockbroker Harshad Mehta. Kunal Khemmu bagged best actor in comic role in Lootcase, while Surbhi Chandna and Dheeraj Dhoopar took home the best actor (female) and (male) awards for their work on the small screen last year
The veteran actor Dharmendra too was honoured for his contribution to Hindi cinema in a career that spanned several decades.
Nora Fatehi, the famous Dilbar girl, who is known for her dance moves, was awarded the best performer at the ceremony. Overjoyed at the recognition, Nora wrote on Instagram that the award made “all the bleeding knees, back injuries, bruises, cuts, sleepless nights were all worth it.”
“This uplifts me and encourages me to do more to create an even bigger impact in the world of entertainment! Cheers to more performance oriented songs and Films, this is the start of my presence in content driven films and performances as an actor now! Lets do this! Next year ill be taking best actress award too… Wait for it,” Nora wrote.