SS Rajamouli’s fantasy epic Baahubali bagged the top honour at the 63rd National Film Awards, which were announced on Monday morning.
Baahubali — which features Prabhas, Rana Daggubati and some of the best VFX seen in the Indian film industry so far — had become one of the biggest blockbusters of 2016, earning over Rs 600 crore at the worldwide box office. It became the third highest Indian grosser of all time, coming up behind Piku and Bajrangi Bhaijaan. In addition to Best Feature Film, it won the "Best Special Effects" honour as well.
Baahubali producer Shobu Yarlagadda said it was a huge achievement, as this is the first Telugu film to bag the Best Feature Film nod at the National Awards.
"Winning the 63rd National Award for Best Film is a huge achievement. Being the first Telugu film to do so makes it all the more special (sic)," Yarlagadda tweeted.
Congratulations to the entire team of @BaahubaliMovie. It's an acknowledgement of the teams hard work n commitment over last few years.
— Shobu Yarlagadda (@Shobu_) March 28, 2016
Among the other prizes announced on Monday morning were ‘Best Director’ — conferred on Sanjay Leela Bhansali for Bajirao Mastani, ‘Best Actor’ — given to Amitabh Bachchan for Piku and ‘Best Actress’, granted to Kangana Ranaut for her double role in Tanu Weds Manu Returns. Salman Khan-starrer Bajrangi Bhaijaan also won a special mention.
Bhansali had swept most of the Best Director prizes at the leading Bollywood award ceremonies this year, including the Filmfare trophy, for his magnum opus on the life and loves of Bajirao I. Surprisingly, while Ranveer Singh had won most of the Best Actor prizes for the same film, he was not granted the National Award, with the jury preferring Amitabh Bachchan's portrayal of Bhaskor Banerjee in Piku. The jury termed Bachchan's performance as "delectable and delightful".
Similarly, award-season favourite Deepika Padukone, whose turn as the eponymous character in Shoojit Sircar's Piku had won her several laurels, lost out to Kangana Ranaut in the Best Actress category. This is Kangana's third National Award, as she has previously won for her performance in Queen in addition to a 'supporting actress' nod for Madhur Bhandarkar's Fashion.
Bajrangi Bhaijaan, directed by Kabir Khan, was named "Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment", while Yash Raj Films' Dum Laga Ke Haisha (directed by Sharat Katariya) took home the "Best Hindi Film" prize. Filmmaker Ramesh Sippy, the head of the feature film jury, said, "A sweet and resonant film set in Haridwar, Dum Laga Ke Haisha challenged the prejudices of a middle class family in choosing a bride."
The National Film Awards were established in 1954, and the award ceremony is held in New Delhi every year, where the President of India gives out the honours. The 63rd National Film Awards honoured the best films of 2015.
The chairpersons of the juries handed over the list of the awardees to Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday morning. The ceremony to honour all the awardees will be held on 3 May.
This year, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting also announced a prize for the 'most film-friendly state', with Gujarat named as the winner.
Senthil Rajan from the Directorate of Film Festivals, said, "We had 16 entries from different states, and this is a major step by the Indian government to promote film tourism in the states because this sort of an award will enthuse the states. We chose Gujarat primarily because of the efforts in the direction of ease of doing business and facilitation of films and towards the promotion of Indian cinema."
Here's a list of the other winners in major categories this year:
Best Supporting Actor — Samuthirakan for Visaranaai (Tamil)
Best Supporting Actress — Tanvi Azmi for Bajirao Mastani
Best Cinematography — Sudeep Chatterjee for Bajirao Mastani
Best Female Playback Singer — Monali Thakur for Dum Lagake Haisha
Best Debut Film of a Director — Neeraj Ghaywan for Masaan
Best Film on Social Issues — Nirnnayakam (Malayalam)
Best Child Artiste — Gaurav Menon for Ben
With IANS inputs