Thirty two Tamil films, including Vikram Vedha , Kadugu, Aramm, Mersal and Naachiyaar , competed at the National Awards. To Let, directed by Cheziyan, is based on real life incidents and deals with how a middle-class family is given thirty days’ time by their house owner to vacate. Talking to DT Next, the director said, “While penning the script, I wanted to deliver a product worth the audience’s money. We even sent the film to a few international film festivals and won. However, the National Award is extremely special and I am glad the film was recognised.”
When contacted, Rahman said, “When I heard the news, I was elated. When I won my first National award for Roja in 1992, I remember people asking me ‘Isn’t it too early for you?’. I feel it’s never too early to win such awards. I thank the people of India and the jury to have selected me and of course my entire team, who helped me compose the tracks.”
On winning for Mom ’s background’s score, he thanked the late Sridevi and said, “I feel very honoured for being approached by Srideviji. I have never worked on a movie like that before. It had a universal message in it.” He also spoke about working with Mani Ratnam and said, “It has always been a pleasure working with him. You throw any crazy ideas to him and he makes it organic. He is one of the very rare directors, who understands music well.”
Shashaa Tirupati said, “I was sleeping when I got the call about me winning the National award for Vaan Varuvaan . I was in tears. I then called up Rahman sir and my mom. When I heard the song for the first time in Rahman sir’s studio, I knew it belonged to me and I gave my best to the tune. I am happy to have made him proud.”
Honoured and humbled: National Award winners
The National Film Award winners reacted with surprise and elation as their names were announced on Friday but the moment was bittersweet for the families of Sridevi and Vinod Khanna, who were honoured posthumously
Sridevi’s producer-husband Boney Kapoor became emotional to learn about her win at the 65th National Film Awards as the best actress for her Mom. “Thank you. I just wish she was here today to see this,” a tearful Boney told reporters. Her daughters Janhvi and Khushi, also called it a “special moment” for the family.
Khanna, who became the 49th recipient of Dadasaheb Phalke award, the highest recognition in Indian cinema, had passed away on April 27 last year. “So proud to hear that my dad has been posthumously awarded India’s highest honour in cinema, the #DadasahebPhalkeAward at the #NationalFilmAwards! “As we approach his first death anniversary, it’s such a lovely way to celebrate his life and work because, at his core, he wasn’t just an actor but also a lifelong film fan!” his son Rahul Khanna wrote on Twitter.
Assamese film Village Rockstars won the best feature film award and its director Rima Das, who is currently in LA for the film’s US premiere, said she missed being home to share her happiness with friends and family. “I’m very, very happy, thankful and blessed. I’m missing home a lot. And I’m so happy to represent Assam and India in world scenario. From Toronto to going to more than 50 film festivals, people are giving so much love (to the film),” she said. Riddhi Sen won the best actor National Award for Nagarkirtan . “For an actor, it is befitting that he receives an award for his performance while he is in the midst of a shoot for another film,” Riddhi said. His father Kaushik Sen, a veteran film-theatre artiste, said his son is fascinated by cinema.
Music maestro AR Rahman, who was recognised as the best songs and background score for films Kaatru Veliyidai and Mom, said it was great to win two National Awards.
Malayalam filmmaker Jayaraj, who won the best director award for the second time for Bhayanakam , dedicated the award to “Kuttanad men who had joined the Army and lost their lives in the war.” Fahadh Faasil said his first ever national award for Thondimuthalum Driksakshi yum was “unexpected.” “I expected some awards for the movie as many of my friends thought it had a pan-India appeal, but I never expected an individual award for me,” he said.
Actor Divya Dutta, who was named the best supporting actress for her role in Irada said it was great to finally win the award. Pankaj Tripathi, who received a special mention at the National Awards for his role in Newton, said it was a moment of celebration for him.