In a turnaround from last year, regional cinema talent dominated Bollywood presence in the winners’ list of the 64th National Film Awards announced here on Friday.
Only one top honour — Best Actor — went to Akshay Kumar for Hindi movie “Rustom”, leaving much of Bollywood wondering why movies like “Dangal” and “Aligarh” were left out.
The Best Hindi film award went to “Neerja”.
“Bollywood films have not lost, but the regional cinema has excelled,” the feature films’ jury chairperson Priyadarshan told IANS here.
“‘Dangal’ missed out because of the powerful regional films. It’s not because of anything else. Some of the Marathi and Bengali films were brilliant and better,” he added.
Perhaps the discretion was similar for Hansal Mehta’s “Aligarh”, which made a pertinent point on LGBT rights. Mehta expressed disappointment.
The six industries of the south — Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Tulu and Konkani — bagged a total of 18 awards, while movies from Assam, Bengal, Maharashtra and Manipur also won in different categories.
Marathi film “Kasaav” was named the Best Feature Film; filmmaker Rajesh Mapuskar was named as the Best Director for “Ventilator” — a Marathi production by Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra; and the Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment Award was given to Telugu film “Sathamanam Bhavathi”.
The Best Film on Social Issues was given to Bollywood film “Pink”, while Nagesh Kukunoor’s Hindi movie “Dhanak” won the Best Children’s Film.
Malayalam actress Surabhi C.M. was announced the Best Actress for “Minnaminungu – the Firefly”, and she was ecstatic upon hearing the news.
Akshay was humbled by his first National Film Award, and dedicated his win to his family and wife, who said she is going through mixed emotions.
Priyadarshan said Akshay and Mohanlal were the main two contenders for the Best Actor honour, but Mohanlal was instead chosen for a Special Jury Award for his performance in three films.
The Supporting Actors category saw Kashmiri girl Zaira Wasim and Manoj Joshi winning for their performances in “Dangal” and “Dashakriya” respectively.
There were special mentions for films “Kadvi Hawa” and “Mukti Bhawan” as well as for actors Sonam Kapoor for “Neerja” and Adil Hussain for “Mukti Bhawan” and “Maj Rati Keteki”.
Sonam said the honour was unexpected but overwhelming, and she was also upbeat because “Neerja” — a real life inspired tale of an airhostess who gave up her life to save passengers aboard a hijacked flight at Karachi — was named the Best Hindi film.
Other key awards included: Best Special Effects for “Shivaay” (Naveen Paul), Best Animation Film for “Mahayoddha Rama”, Best Film on Environment Conservation/ Preservation for Manipuri movie “Loktak Lairembee”, Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration for Assamese movie “Dikchow Banat Palaax”; and Indira Gandhi Award for Best Debut Film of a Director went to Deep Choudhury for Bengali film “Alifa”.
A new award has been constituted for Best Action Director (Stunt Choreography), which went to Peter Hein for Malayalam film “Pulimurugam”.
Last year, an award for the Most Film Friendly State was introduced and Gujarat had won the honour. This time, Uttar Pradesh has won for implementing film policies which include various measures to create a suitable environment for film production. A special mention in the same category was given to Jharkhand.
The awards were also announced for the non-feature film category and for best writing on cinema.