National Film Award Briefs: Kerala Shines, Aligarh snubbed, Southern Movies Bag 18 Awards and Reactions

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Ajay Devgn

Kerala shines at 64th National Film Awards

Thiruvananthapuram–The Malayalam film industry has emerged successful in the 64th National Film Awards, that were announced in the capital on Friday, bagging several honours, including that for the Best Actress and Best Screenplay.

Surabhi C.M. won the Best Actress Award for her role in “Minnaminungu – the Firefly”. This role fetched her only a special mention in the recently announced Kerala State Film awards.

Surabhi, all of 26, was not in Kerala when the announcement was made.

“I now really wish I was in Kerala when this news came. I am here (in Oman) to attend a function. I never ever expected that this award will come to me. I take this opportunity to thank all behind the film and who helped me to win this,” said Surabhi.

The other awards that the Malayalam film industry won include the Best Child Artiste that has been shared by three child actors — and saw Kerala boy Adish Praveen bagging it for his role in the film “Kunju Daivam”.

The Best Screenplay prize went to Shyam Pushkaran for the film “Maheshinte Prathikaaram”, which also bagged the Best Malayalam Film award.

In the Best Sound Design category, Jayadevan Chakadath was choosen as the winner for the film “Kaadu Pookkunna Neram”.

Superstar Mohanlal won a Special Jury mention for three of his movies which included Telugu film “Janatha Garage” and two Malayalam films — “Pulimurugan” and “Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol”.

Peter Hein, who worked on the action scenes in the film “Pulimurugan” bagged the Best Action Director Award constituted for the first time.

National Award win is unbelievable: Rohit Vaid

New Delhi–Rohit Vaid, whose maiden directorial venture “Mahayoddha Rama” won the Best Animation Film honour at the 64th National Film Awards, says its an “unbelievable” moment for him.

The winners of the 64th National Film Awards were announced here on Friday.

“When something like this happens, you are only confused and thankful. It starts with confusion, then thanking everyone, and later on, you retrospect all the things that went into making of the film. It really is unbelievable,” Vaid told IANS.

Vaid said the film was supposed to be released in 2009, but “there was some problem with Pixion — which was doing bits of the production” for the movie.

“Our logic was to tell Ramayana in a different way with a bit of creative liberty. We used Ravana as the 20th century villain. We have told the story with a lot of VFX (visual effects) and action. The idea was to retell the story to today’s youth,” he said.

“Mahayoddha Rama”, which released in November last year, featured voices of actors like Gulshan Grover, Kunal Kapoor and Mukesh Rishi among others.

“We are delighted that our efforts have got such a prestigious recognition. I am truly humbled and this recognition stands testament for all the hard work put in by the team. I would like to thank the jury for this honour,” said Abhimanyu Singh, CEO, Contiloe Pictures Pvt Ltd, which backed the film.

Excited about National Award win for ’24’: Suriya

Chennai–Actor Suriya on Friday said he is really excited about the National Awards for his critically acclaimed Tamil science fiction action thriller “24”, which pocketed two awards at the 64th National Film Awards.

“24” won awards for Best Production Design for Amit Ray and Subrata Chakraborty and Best Cinematography for Tirru.

“The entire ’24’ team is excited about the National Award win. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the entire National Award jury,” Suriya said in a video message.

The actor played dual roles in the film, directed by Vikram Kumar.

He went on to add that “24” was an ambitious project and this honour makes it even more special.

“This recognition to Tirru, Amit and Subrata is for all the great work they have been doing over the years. It’s also encouraging for us to keep pushing the envelope with such projects,” he said.

National Award came as a surprise: Satish Vegesna

Chennai– The National Award for Telugu family drama “Shatamanam Bhavati” came as a pleasant surprise, says the film’s director Satish Vegesna.

The 64th National Film Awards were announced on Friday.

“Shatamanam Bhavati” won the Best Popular Film Award for wholesome entertainment.

“When I got a call from my production team, I thought they were joking. We didn’t expect a National Award, and it came as a pleasant surprise. I need to thank my producer for having faith in me and backing this project,” Vegesna told IANS.

A runaway hit at the box office, “Shatamanam Bhavati” released this year for Sankranti, though it was cleared by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) last year.

The film stars Sharwanand, Anupama Parameswaran, Prakash Raj, Jayasudha and Naresh in the lead roles.

The film, produced by Dil Raju, was about the relationship dynamics between a NRI grandson (Sharwanand) and his grandfather (Prakash Raj).

Ajay Devgn

National Award well deserved for ‘Shivaay’: Ajay Devgn

Mumbai– Bollywood actor-filmmaker Ajay Devgn, whose production and directorial venture “Shivaay” has got the National Film Award for Best Visual Effects, says the decision is not surprising.

After winning the award, Ajay said in a statement: “I feel delighted that the prestigious 64th National Award for Best Visual Effects has been awarded to our very own Naveen Paul of NYVFXWALA for our film ‘Shivaay’.

“Many congratulations to Naveen and the entire team. I am thankful to the honourable jury but I have to say that I am not at all surprised by their decision. This indeed is a well deserved win.”

The film released on Diwali last year alongside Karan Johar’s “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”.

Team ‘Neerja’ humbled over National Film Award win

Mumbai– The team behind “Neerja”, which on Friday was named the winner of the Best Hindi Film at the 64th National Film Awards, are joyous and humbled.

Vijay Singh, CEO of Fox Star Studios, said in a statement: “It’s hugely exciting and humbling that we are now the only studio to have won two National Awards for Best Film (‘Jolly LLB’ and now ‘Neerja’). This recognition gives us further confidence to back great stories and push the envelope on content.”

Celebrity photographer Atul Kasbekar, who made his foray into film production with the movie and co-produced it, said in a statement: “No one could have scripted this. The recognition that ‘Neerja’ has got from everywhere is genuinely humbling.

“Ram Madhvani and I were clear that we would be achingly honest in its making.”

“Neerja” is based on air hostess Neerja Bhanot, who displayed the utmost courage to deal with armed terrorists and sacrificed her life to save others.

Kasbekar also thanked the family of Neerja for their trust and faith.

“We don’t know why they trusted a first time producer and director but we are so grateful that you did,” he added.

Neerja gave up her life two days before she would have turned 23, to save a large group of American children during a hijack of a Pan-Am flight by terrorists at the Karachi International Airport in Pakistan on September 5, 1986.

An inspirational tale, the film was appreciated for its performances by Sonam Kapoor and Shabana Azmi, who played her mother on screen.

Sonam won a special mention for her “convincing performance of a real life icon” in the film.

Hansal Mehta ‘disappointed’ over ‘Aligarh’ snub at National Award

Mumbai–Filmmaker Hansal Mehta says it’s disappointing that his critically acclaimed film “Aligarh” was not considered worthy of an honour at the 64th National Film Awards. However, he hopes the debate around LGBTQ rights is not ignored.

Set in a town in Uttar Pradesh from which the film takes its name, “Aligarh” is the story of a professor played by actor Manoj Bajpayee, fired for his sexuality, and a young journalist essayed by Rajkummar Rao, who tells his story to the world.

After the 64th National Film Awards were announced on Friday in New Delhi, Mehta expressed his sentiments via a Twitter post.

He wrote: “I am getting calls asking me if ‘Aligarh’ was entered for the National Awards and if I was disappointed with the results. Yes, ‘Aligarh’ was entered and while we are disappointed like many other colleagues, I would like to congratulate all the the winners.”

The filmmaker says that the jury has a difficult job every year and there are bound to be disappointments for many.

“Some fine films have been rewarded and some excellent work has been recognised. To all my colleagues who poured their hearts out into ‘Aligarh’, let’s just keep making our films with love and care – awards or no awards. There is no point brooding over the results.

“There is merit in only moving on and continuing to work, to make movies that we believe in.”

He says it’s more important that the fight for LGBTQ rights continues.

“If ‘Aligarh’ has shone a light on these issues and if India’s ignored LGBTQ’s population are able to move forward with dignity rights, and unconditional integration into the mainstream, we will consider our task in making ‘Aligarh’ accomplished,” he said.

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