National Film Awards: ‘Soorarai Pottru’ wins big, Suriya and Ajay Devgn share Best Actor prize

The Bollywood star, who previously won the National Film Award for Best Actor for his performances in “Zakhm” (1998) and “The Legend of Bhagat Singh” (2002), said he was elated to receive the honour for the third time

National Film Awards: ‘Soorarai Pottru’ wins big, Suriya and Ajay Devgn share Best Actor prize

Tamil film “Soorarai Pottru” won the National Award for Best Feature, Best Actor and Best Actress at the 68th National Film Awards for 2020 announced on Friday.

The second big winner of the day was Ajay Devgn-starrer “Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior” which bagged the awards for Best Actor for Devgn and Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment.

Directed by Om Raut, “Tanhaji…” is based on the life of Tanaji Malusare, the military leader of Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s army. Set in the 17th century, the film also won the Best Costume Designer for Nachiket Barve and Mahesh Sherla.

Devgn shared the Best Actor award with Suriya, who got it for “Soorarai Pottru”. The film, inspired by the life of Air Deccan founder Capt G R Gopinath, also won Aparrna Balamurali the Best Actress prize.

The Bollywood star, who previously won the National Film Award for Best Actor for his performances in “Zakhm” (1998) and “The Legend of Bhagat Singh” (2002), said he was elated to receive the honour for the third time.

“I’m elated to win the Best Actor Award for ‘Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior’ at the 68th National Awards along with Suriya who won for ‘Soorarai Pottru’.

“I thank everyone, most of all my creative team, the audience and my fans. I also express my gratitude to my parents & the Almighty for their blessings. Congratulations to all the other winners,” Devgn said in a statement.

Raut, who made his directorial debut with “Tanhaji”, called the film a “labour of love” and congratulated Devgn as well as costume designers Barve and Sherla on their wins.

“A film is not a one man show, it is the effort of its entire team, the cast and crew are the pillars of each project. This award is for each person who worked on ‘Tanhaji’, they are all my unsung heroes. I’m happy our film got commercial success and true appreciation. Awards and rewards are truly heartening,” the director said in a statement.

“Soorarai Pottru” also won Best Screenplay for Shalini Usha Nair and director Sudha Kongara as well as Best Music Direction (Background Score) for GV Prakash Kumar.

Kongara celebrated the film’s win in a post on Twitter. “We won maara”, the filmmaker wrote alongside two photos with her team.

The late Malayalam filmmaker Sachidanandan KR was posthumously named Best Director for “Ayyappanum Koshiyum”, which took home three more awards — Best Supporting Actor for Biju Menon, Best Action Direction (Stunt Choreography) and Best Playback Female Singer for Nanchamma.

The Best Playback Singer Male was given to Rahul Deshpande for Marathi film “Mi Vasantrao”.

Tamil artiste Lakshmi Priya Chandramouli was named the Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Tamil movie “Sivaranjaniyum Innum Sila Pengallum”, which received the Best Editing award for Sreekar Prasad as well.

The Best Hindi Film prize went to “Toolsidas Junior”, directed by Mridul Toolsidas. The Ashutosh Gowariker production, which was the last film appearance of late actor Rajiv Kapoor, also received a Special Jury Mention for child actor Varun Buddhadev.

In the music category, Thaman S won the Best Music Direction (Songs) for Allu Arjun’s Telugu hit “Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo”, while Best Lyrics was given to Manoj Muntashir for Hindi film “Saina”.

In a tweet, Thaman S thanked the film’s producers for the making the movie’s “music a big one for all of us and trusting us immensely”.

Telugu movie “Natyam” won awards for Best Make-up Artist (TV Rambabu) and Best Choreography (Sandhya Raju).

Filmmaker Madonne Ashwin won the Indira Gandhi Award for Best Debut film of a Director for his Tamil venture “Mandela”. He won another award — the Best Dialogue writer.

The Best Cinematography award went to Supratim Bhol for the Bengali movie “Avijatrik”.

The Best Telugu Film award was bagged by “Colour Photo”, while “Sivaranjaniyum Innum Sila Pengallum” won the Best Tamil Film. “Thinkalazcha Nishchayam” was declared the Best Malayalam Film and “Dollu” took home the Best Kannada Film award.

Marathi movie “Sumi” won the Best Children’s Film award and its actors Akanksha Pingle and Divyesh Indulkar shared the Best Child Artist honour with Anish Mangesh Gosavi of “Tak-Tak”.

Another Marathi feature “Funeral” was declared the Best Film of Social Issues, while Kannada movie “Taledanda” won the award for Best Film on Environment Conservation/Preservation.

The winners for the 68th National Film Awards were selected by the 10-member jury headed by Hindi filmmaker Vipul Shah. The awards were announced by jury member Dharam Gulati.

In the Non-Feature category, Sachin Dheeraj Mundigonda of “Testimony of Anna” won the top award of the Best Non-Feature Film.

Director-composer Vishal Bhardwaj won the Best Music Direction award for the track “Marenge Toh Wahin Jaakar” from filmmaker Vinod Kapri’s “1232 kms”, a documentary about the migrant workers’ exodus during the lockdown.

Kapri said Bhardwaj and veteran lyricist Gulzar were the “soul of the film”.

“This film was not possible without them. If the film has a body, then Bhardwaj and Gulzar were its soul. They both were really incredible,” the filmmaker, who earlier won a National Award for his 2014 documentary “Can’t Take This Shit Anymore”, told PTI.

The prize for the Most Film Friendly state went to Madhya Pradesh, with Special Mention for Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.

Author Kishwar Desai’s “The Longest Kiss”, based on 10 years of research and 400 letters written by cinema icon Devika Rani, received the award for the Best Book on Cinema.

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