Bollywood goes all the way at the 66th National Film Awards
Hindi cinema on a high as Ayush, Vicky share Best Actor nods; AndhaDhun, Uri and Badhaai Ho bag top honours.
Its pan-India appeal notwithstanding, Hindi cinema — not too long ago — would get outshone by its regional counterparts when it came to the National Awards. In what can be seen as a sign of how Bollywood has evolved, the 66th National Awards were largely dominated by Hindi movies, with Ayushmann Khurrana and Vicky Kaushal walking away with the Best Actor gong, while Aditya Dhar earned the Best Director nod for Uri: The Surgical Strike.
After bagging several gongs for his blind pianist act in AndhaDhun, Khurrana is ecstatic to round off the year with the most prestigious win. "When I entered the industry seven years ago, my choice of films were considered offbeat. Today's win is gratifying and it makes me braver as an artiste as I have always tried to back disruptive content. This is a validation of my belief system."
Having been adjudged the Best Director, Dhar is over the moon. "Vicky and I were screaming with joy on Facetime," says the first-time director, whose film Uri saw Kaushal earn the Best Actor award. "National Award has always been an aspiration. But it's crazy to have won it for my debut film. It takes a great team and a great script to make a worthy film. This is a victory of my team." Kaushal expressed his joy on social media, writing, "For my work to be recognised by the honourable National Film Awards Jury is a moving moment for me (sic)."
Director Amit Sharma was congratulating Surekha Sikri for her Best Supporting Actress win when he learnt of Badhaai Ho winning the Best Popular Film. "When someone called me to give the news, my instant reaction was that they are confusing it with Surekhaji's win. A National Award win is otherworldly for any filmmaker. The fact that conventional cinema is changing was a reminder all year, but the film doing so well proved that the audience is ready for new ideas."
Writer Pooja Ladha Surti, whose AndhaDhun won the Best Hindi Film and Best Adapted Screenplay, says, "Our main worry was the film's divisive end. I am glad we stuck to our guns." It is a mixed feeling for director Aijaz Khan, whose Hamid won the Best Urdu film. "The moment I came to know that Talha Arshad Reshi has won the Best Child Actor Award, I wanted to share the news with him. But I was unable to reach him due to the network outage in Kashmir."
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Ayushmann Khurrana, Vicky Kaushal share Best Actor Award in the 66th National Film Awards