Talents from India's $2-billion Indian movie industry received from Vice President Hamid Ansari the 59th National Film Awards across various categories on Thursday. Veteran Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee was also honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke award, highest honour in Indian cinema at the event.
Regional cinema dominated the award function, while Bollywood maintained a low key this year.
Top honours, including best feature film, best direction and best actor titles, were bagged by regional talents, while Bollywood's bold and beautiful Vidya Balan kept the Hindi film industry in the reckoning by receiving the best actress trophy for The Dirty Picture.
Vidya came on the dais in a rose pink-coloured sari with her hair neatly tied in a bun to receive the award.
The ceremony, hosted by actors Vinay Pathak and Saumya Tandon, witnessed performances by Anand Bhate, who won the best playback singer (male) title for "Balgandharva", and Roopa Ganguly, who won the same award in the female category for the Bengali film "Abosheyshey".
Bollywood composer Amit Trivedi and lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya also took to the stage to perform Agar Zindagi, for which the latter won the best lyricist trophy. The song is from the movie I Am.
The best feature film award was shared by Marathi film Deool and Kannada movie Byari, while the best direction award went to Gurvinder Singh for his Punjabi film Anhe Ghorey Da Daan, which also won the best cinematography title.
Marathi actor Girish Kulkarni came to accept his best actor trophy for his role as a good-hearted simpleton in Deool.
The best supporting actor and actress awards were given to Appu Kutty for Tamil film Azhagarsamiyin Kuthirai and Leishangthem Tonthoingambi Devi for Manipuri film Phijigee Mani, respectively.
In the music category, composer Neel Dutt won the best songs award for Bengali rock musical Ranjana Ami Ar Ashbo Na. Mayookh Bhaumik bagged the background score honour for Bengali film Laptop.
Hindi films, though few in the awardees list, made their prominence felt through the presence of its actors and filmmakers at the event. The team of I AM Onir and Sanjay Suri came to collect the award for the film. I AM was named the best Hindi film of the year.
Chillar Party was adjudged the best children's film, and it also received the honour for best original screenplay writer. The 10 child artistes from Chillar Party added innocence and enthusiasm to the event and displayed respect for Ansari as most of them touched his feet before accepting the honour.
Amitabh Bhattacharya won best lyrics for Agar zindagi from I AM, RA.One bagged the award for best special effects and the best choreography was given to Bosco-Caeser for "Senorita" from Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.
The best costume designer award was shared by Niharika Khan for The Dirty Picture and Neeta Lulla for Marathi film Balgandharva. Another shared award was for the best child artist. It was received jointly by Partho Gupte for Stanley Ka Dabba and by the gang of 10 kids for Chillar Party.
Vikram Gaekwad won the best make-up artist for his work in The Dirty Picture as well as in Bal Gandharva.
All three awards in the best audiography category were picked by Hindi films. The best location sound recordist title went to Beylon Fonseca for Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. Game was given the honours in the sound designer and re-recordist of the final mixed track categories.
Kumararaja Thiagarajan won the Indira Gandhi Award for best debut film of a director for Aaranyakandam, while the award for the best popular film providing wholesome entertainment went to Tamil film Azhagarsamiyin Kuthirai.
Acclaimed filmmaker Girish Kasaravalli picked his 12th National Film Award at the event for Kurmavatara, adjudged the best Kannada film.
Traditionally, the awards are given out by the President. But Pratibha Patil, whose term is about to end in July, is currently on vacation so Ansari filled in her boots at the Vigyan Bhawan.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni, too was present at the occasion, which saw key members of the country's film fraternity.