Are you a movie buff? Or someone who binges on celebrity gossip? Well, here is something very interesting. The 68th National Film Awards were announced on the night of July 23, Friday. And so much has already happened on this one night that social media handles and entertainment columns are abuzz with messages. Tamil drama Soorarai Pottru managed to win five national awards, while Hindi historical action Tanhaji won three. And Ajay Devgn won the best actor award with Suriya. What are the other strengths? And what special happened at the awards ceremony? We’ll take a look.
First of all, who won the most important prizes?
– Best feature film: Soorarai Pottru
– Best Director: Sachidanandan KR for Ayyappanum Koshiyum (Malayalam)
– Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment: Tanhaji
– Best actor: Suriya for Soorarai Pottru and Ajay Devgn for Tanhaji
– Best actress: Aparna Balamurali for Soorarai Pottru
– Best Supporting Actor: Biju Menon for Ayyappanum Koshiyam
– Best Supporting Actress: Lakshmi Priya Chandramouli for Sivaranjaniyum Innam Sila Pengallum (Tamil)
– Best Action Direction Award: AK Ayyappanum Koshiyum
– Best feature film in Hindi: Toolsidas Junior
– Best Screenplay: Soorarai Pottru
What’s the word on the street?
Filmmaker Om Raut has thanked the cast and crew of Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior, following the film’s big wins. He made a special mention of Saif Ali Khan and said the actor’s support was crucial. Ajay Devgn says he was “delighted” to have won his third National Best Actor award.
Meanwhile, Akshay Kumar congratulated Suriya on his big win. And actor Aju Varghese took to Twitter to congratulate him today, July 23, on his birthday. Child actor Varun Buddhadeb received a special mention from the jury for Toolsidas Junior. The director of this film dedicated the national award to the late actor Rajeev Kapoor.
How are films selected for the awards?
This year, around 400 films competed for the awards. The Film Festivals Directorate invited online entries and the acceptable deadline for entries was March 12, 2021. Films in any Indian language, shot in 16mm, 35mm, larger film gauge or a digital format, and released in cinemas, on video or digital formats for home viewing were eligible to enter. However, only films certified by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020 were eligible. Films had to be certified as a feature, featurette, or documentary/news/non-fiction (non-feature) by CBFC.
Then, a jury selects the winners. This year, it was a ten-member jury, led by filmmaker Vipul Shah. Other members included cinematographers Dharam Gulati, GS Bhaskar, A Karthikraaja, directors VN Aditya, Viji Thampi, S Thangadurai and actors Sreelekha Mukherjee, Nishigandha and Sanjeev Rattan.
What are some of the other special price categories?
Feature films and non-feature films receive two types of awards, the Golden Lotus (Swarna Kamal) award and the Silver Lotus (Rajat Kamal) award. There are interesting categories such as Best Children’s Film, Best Regional Films, and Most Film-Friendly State are also considered in the national awards. This year, Madhya Pradesh won the state’s most film-friendly award, while Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh won special mentions from the jury.
Not only films, but books, critical studies, reviews or articles on cinema published in Indian newspapers, magazines and journals between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020, are also awarded in the Best Writing on cinema section. However, entries for dubbed, revised or copied versions of a film or translation, abstracts, edited or annotated works and reprints are not considered for awards.
What else is interesting about the National Film Awards?
The National Film Awards are awarded by the Directorate of Film Festivals to reward the best films of Indian cinema each year. However, there is a two-year gap rule that is followed. The awards in 2022 were given out for 2020, and this year’s films will be awarded in 2024. Last year, the awards were announced but not presented at a ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur took to Twitter to announce the award ceremony. The awards were presented at the National Media Center in New Delhi. The awards aim to encourage the study and appreciation of film as an art form and the dissemination of information and critical appreciation of this art form.