The recently announced National Film Awards have ushered in a wave of cheer in Bollywood. Unlike most years when regional cinema takes centrestage, the 61st edition of the ­country’s coveted film awards saw a good number of ­mainstream Hindi films ­bagging top ­honours.
Coincidentally, two films, both themed around the courtroom — Shahid and Jolly LLB — won big. While Hansal Mehta bagged the Best Director award for Shahid, it also brought in the Best Actor award for actor Rajkummar Rao, who plays the real-life character of slain lawyer and human rights activist, Shahid Azmi. “It feels great ... I can’t express my happiness in words. When I was shooting the film, I never expected it’d go on to be so big and that it’d get me the National Award,” says the thrilled Delhi boy, Rajkummar, who shares the Best Actor trophy with Malayali actor Suraj Venjaramoodu for the film Perariyathavar.
Subhash Kapoor’s Jolly LLB also bagged two big awards — the Best Hindi Film and the Best Supporting Actor for Saurabh Shukla, who plays a judge in the film. “Saurabh wasn’t even nominated at the other popular awards earlier this year! I feel proud that he got the National Award,” says Saurabh’s co-actor and the film’s lead, Arshad Warsi.
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s biopic on athlete Milkha Singh, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag won the award for the Best Popular Film and Best Choreography for Ganesh Acharya, while Shoojit Sircar’s Madras Cafe, ­starring John Abraham, swept the Best Sound Design trophy. Kiran Rao’s Ship Of Theseus was awarded the Golden Lotus for Best Feature Film and also brought the Best Supporting Actress award to Egyptian Aida Elkashaf, who plays a blind photographer in the film.