South cinema emerges triumphant in the 67th National Film Awards
While Malayalam cinema led the pack with seven wins, Tamil cinema followed closely with six, Telugu with three, and Kannada with one
The 67th National Awards for films that were submitted in 2019, were announced on Monday, following a year’s delay owing to the coronavirus pandemic. It was a huge haul for South Indian cinema in all the major categories, with more than 15 films from the region being recognised in the awards. While Malayalam cinema led the pack with seven wins, Tamil cinema followed closely with six, Telugu with three, and Kannada with one.
The Malayalam epic, Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham (Malayalam), that is awaiting its release, and the Telugu action drama, Maharshi, won the big two awards: Best Film and Best Popular Film, with the latter also winning for Raju Sundaram his second National Award for Best Choreography. Jersey, which was awarded the Best Telugu Film, also bagged the Best Editor award for Naveen Nooli. The film is a heart-rending take on the life of a failed cricketer who yearns to retain the respect of his son.
In the acting categories, Dhanush's turn in Vetrimaaran’s Asuran, as an oppressed elderly man, fighting for his family in a caste-afflicted society, won him his second National Award for Best Actor (following his first for Aadukalam by the same director). This is an award he will share with Manoj Bajpayee (Bhonsle), who has won a National Award for the third time in his career, with both of his previous wins coming for a supporting act. Bajpayee’s masterful performance in Devashish Makhija’s bitingly political film, stands testament to the adage that less is more.
Vijay Sethupathi won his first National Award for Super Deluxe for his supporting act as a helpless transgender woman called Shilpa, who grapples with humiliation and guilt. It was a first for Tamil composer Imman too, as he won the Best Music Director award for his work in Ajith-starrer Viswasam. Naga Vishal was bestowed the Best Child Actor award for his performance in the Tamil drama, KD (a) Karuppu Durai.
While Marakkar also won awards for Special Effects (Siddharth Priyadarshan) and Costumes (Sujith Sudhakaran and V Sai), Mathukutty Xavier's debut directorial, Helen, bagged two awards: Best Film by a Debutant and Best Makeup (Ranjith). Meanwhile, Kannada filmmaker Vikram Mor won the National award for Best Action Direction for the fantasy-adventure, Avane Srimannarayana.
For the first time after 2000, a Malayalam film has won the award for Best Lyricist (Prabha Varma for Kolaambi). The visually breathtaking Jallikattu, India's official nomination to the Oscars, won a National Award for its cinematographer Gireesh Gangadharan. Meanwhile, the experimental Tamil thriller, Oththa Seruppu Size 7, that featured just one character, won for its director and actor Parthiban a Special Jury award, and Best Audiography award for its sound designer, Resul Pookutty.
Meanwhile, Kangana Ranaut won her fourth National Award for her performances in the films, Manikarnika and Panga, and Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan won the Best Director award for Bahattar Hoorain. While Pallavi Joshi bagged the Best Supporting Actress award for The Tashkent Files, the Vivek Agnihotri-directorial also won the filmmaker an award for Best Dialogues.
With awards for Best Female Playback Singer (Savani Ravindra), Production Design (Sunil Nigwekar and Nilesh Wagh for Anandi Gopal), Best Film on Social Issues (Anandi Gopal), Best Sound Designer (Mandar Kamalapurkar for Trijya) and Best Film on National Integration (Taj Mahal), Marathi cinema won big too. Recognition also poured forth for Bengali Cinema in the form of Best Adapted Screenplay (Srijit Mukherji for Gumnaami), Best Original screenplay (Kaushik Ganguly for Jyeshtoputro), and Best Background Music (Prabuddha Banerjee).