Bollywood sensation Vidya Balan glammed up the evening at the 59th National Film Awards function held in New Delhi on Thursday as Vice President Hamid Ansari presented the awards to the winners, including Bengali thespian Soumitra Chatterjee who was conferred the highest film honour, the Dada Saheb Phalke.
"As a collective, the films and artistes who have been awarded today prove that contrary to popular perception, Indian cinema is neither formulaic nor conforming to stereotypes. It has successfully adapted traditional Indian narrative and oral traditions to the requirements of technology and formats of new media," Ansari said.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Ambika Soni said, "The year 2013 would be observed as the Centenary year of Indian Cinema. India’s first full length feature film “RajaHarishchandra” was released on 3rd May 1913 at Mumbai’s Coronation Cinema. To commemorate the release ofIndia’s first film, the National Film Awards Ceremony would now on be held on 3rd of May every year."
Legendary Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee, who was one of the favourites of late film maestro Satyajit Ray, was conferred the highest honour in India cinema, the Dada Sahek Phalke award, for the year 2011 at an august ceremony.
"I am not in a frame of mind to speak," said the 77-year-old actor who is a legend of Bengali cinema who also left his mark in international cinema.
He said he was overwhelmed by the honour which was presented to him by Vice-President Hamid Ansari.
"The Dada Saheb Phalke Award winners constitute the legends of Indian cinema. This prestigious award today is being presented to renowned Bengali film and theatre actor Shri Soumitra Chatterjee.His partnership with Satyajit Ray would indeed be counted as a memorable director-actor combination in the history of cinema. I warmly congratulate Shri Chatterjee and all other award winners. I also wish to thank and congratulate the distinguished Jury for the Awards for their hard work," Ansari said.
Chatterjee had starred in countless Bengali movies of both the commercial and arthouse genre.
Chatterjee beat Bollywood actor Pran, who was a popular villain in the films of the 1960s and 1970s, to bag the award for 2011.
Bollywood's new sensation Vidya Balan clinched the Best Actress award for her notable performance in the film 'The Dirty Picture'.
The highlights of the 59th National Film Awards are as follows:
The top honour in the Feature Film category, the Best Film is shared by films Deool (Marathi) produced by Abhijeet Gholap & directed by Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni and Byari (Byari language) produced by T.H. AlthafHussain & directed by Suveeram. The award carries Swarna Kamal and cash prize of Rs. 2,50,000/-.
In Non-feature film category the top honour , Best Film goes to And We Play On (Hindi & English)directed and produced by Pramod Purswane .
The awards carries Swarna Kamal and Cash prize of Rs. 1,50,000/-. In Best Writing on Cinema category the Swarna Kamal goes to the book titled R.D. Burman – The Man, The Music written by Anirudha Bhattacharjee & Balaji Vittal, published by Harper Collins India. Whereas Manoj Barpujari from Assam has been awarded Best Film Critic.
In Feature Film category, five films have won three awards each. These Films are The Dirty Picture (Hindi), Balgandharva (Marathi), Anhe Ghorey Da Daan (Punjabi), Deool (Marathi) & Ranjana Ami ArAshbo Na (Bengali). Six films have won two awards each. These are Chillar Party (Hindi), AzhagarsamiyinKuthirai (Tamil), Aaranyakandam (Tamil), Phijigee Mani (Manipuri) , Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (Hindi) & Game (Hindi).
The Best Actor award goes to Girish Kulkarni for film Deool (Marathi) and Best Actress to Vidya Balan for the film The Dirty Picture (Hindi). Azhagarsamiyin Kuthirai (Tamil) won the award for Wholesome Entertainment, Chillar Party (Hindi) won Best Children Film, Best Director to Gurvinder Singh for Punjabi filmAnhe Ghorey Da Daan , Best Singer to Anand Bhate (Male) for Marathi film Balgandharva and Roopa Ganguly(Female) for the Bengali film Abosheyshey . Kumararaja Thiagarajan has won the Indira Gandhi Award for Best Debut film of a Director.
In the Non-Feature film category, three films have won two awards each. The Film Tiger Dynasty has won the Best Environmental Film & Best Cinematography awards. Awards for Best Direction and Best Editing have been taken away by the film There is Something in the Air. Film Panchakki has been awarded Best Short Fiction and Best Music Direction.
The number of entries in all the three broad sections of awards -Feature Films, Non-Feature Films and Best writing on Cinema have been increasing year by year.
The number of entries for 2011 stood at 186 in the feature films category, which is the highest in the history of the National Film Awards. Last year, 161 entries were received in this category. Entries in the non-feature films category have also steadily rising and this year 156 entries as compared to 113 last year.
More and more authors and writers are now sending their entries for awards in Best Writing on Cinema category.