New Delhi: Mainstream Hindi cinema emerged a major winner at the 66th National Film Awards on Friday with multiple recognitions for “Andhadhun”, “Uri: The Surgical Strike” and “Badhaai Ho” while Gujarati film “Hellaro” bagged the best film honour.
Directed by Abhishek Shah, “Hellaro” is set in Gujarat’s Kutch region and explores the theme of women empowerment. The film also bagged the special jury award shared by its 13 leading ladies.
Of the top three National Awards, “Uri: The Surgical Strike” won Aditya Dhar a best director award for his debut film and Vicky Kaushal the best actor, a laurel he shared with Ayushmann Khuranna for his role in “Andhadhun”.
Keerthy Suresh won the best actress award for her role as yesteryear Telugu star Savitri in biopic “Mahanati”. The film was also recognised for its costumes.
Ayushmann and Vicky, who shared the best actor award, are known for their unconventional choices. Ayushmann plays a seemingly blind pianist in “Andhadhun”, a critically acclaimed thriller, while Vicky portrays an Army officer in “Uri…”, which recaps India’s surgical strike in September 2016 in the wake of a terror attack on an army base in Uri.
Dhar dedicated his best director to “each and every brave soldier” in the country. The film also won the best music director award (background music) for Shashwat Sachdev and sound design.
Acknowledging his best actor award, Ayushmann said, “I have always tried to back disruptive content that stands out for its quality content. Today’s honour is a validation of my hard work, belief system, my journey in movies and my reason to be an actor in the first place.”
“Andhadhun” also won awards for best Hindi film and best adapted screenplay.
Director Sriram Raghavan, who is currently in Melbourne for the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne, said he was “chuffed” to see his film get recognised by the National Film Award jury.
“I’m very happy. I was actually in the middle of a screening (of Andhadhun) in Melbourne. It is just great and I can only say thank you. I’m happy. Tabu is also here and she called me and said ‘We got it’. I’m just chuffed right now,” Raghavan told PTI over phone.
Ayushmann also expressed happiness over the wins registered by “Badhaai Ho”, a film about a family dealing with an unexpected pregnancy, which was adjudged the best popular film providing wholesome entertainment. Veteran actor Surekha Sikri was named the best supporting actress for her role of a cantankerous but lovable matriarch.
Akshay Kumar-starrer “Padman” was named best film on social issues.
“Padmavaat”, which faced many hurdles during its release, walked away with best choreography for ‘Ghoomer’ and the best music director award (Songs) for filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Arijit Singh was named best male playback singer for “Binte Dil” from the movie.
Bhansali said it was a big moment for him as music has always been a huge part of his creative endeavours and something that kept him sane during the many controversies that “Padmaavat” faced.
“Any recognition, especially coming from the government, means a lot. It is a pat on the back. I made ‘Padmaavat’ through so much chaos and trouble. Every time we would go through a lot of stress, I would go to the studio and start making a song. I make my music with so much love,” Bhansali told PTI.
The best female playback singer award went to Bindhu Malini for ‘Maayavi Manave’ from “Nathicharami”, which also bagged the award for best lyrics, best editing and best Kannada film.
Singer-lyricist Swanand Kirkire won the best supporting actor award for Marathi film “Chumbak”, which he said was an unexpected surprise.
“I am on top of the world. I could not have imagined getting the best actor award, it’s incredible and absolutely humbling,” Kirkire told PTI.
Rima Das, whose last feature “Village Rockstars” was 2017’s best film, registered yet another win with her follow up “Bulbul Can Sing”
bagging the best Assamese Film honour.
Kashmir-set drama “Hamid” was named the best Urdu film while its child actor Talha Arshad Reshi shared the best child actor award with three other children.
Telugu film “Chi Arjun La Sow” won the best original screenplay award for its take on arranged marriages.
Kannada film “KGF” won best action direction and shared the special effects recognition with Telugu film “Awe”, which also bagged the award for make up.
Marathi film “Paani”, backed by Priyanka Chopra’s production banner, won the award for best film on environment conservation and preservation.
Kannada film “Sarkari Hiriya Prathamika Shale Kasargodu was declared the best children’s film.
The best cinematography award went to Malayalam movie “Olu”.
In language categories, the winners were “Reva” (Gujarati), “Harjeeta” (Punjabi), “Amori” (Konkani), “Mahanati” (Telugu), “Sudani from Nigeria” (Malayalam), “Ek Je Chhilo Raja” (Bengali) “Baaram” (Tamil), “Bhonga” (Marathi), “Ma’ama” (Garo), “Mishing” (Sherdukpan), “In the Land of Poison Women (Pangchenpa) and “Turtle” (Rajasthani).
Special mention was shared among “Nathicharami” actor Sruthi Hariharan, “Kadak” star Chandrachoor Rai, “Joseph” star Joju George and “Sudani from Nigeria” actor Savithri.
The awards were announced by jury head Rahul Rawail. There is no clarity on when the awards will be presented.