Irrfan Khan is elated by the belated National Award for Best Actor for his performance in Paan Singh Tomar (PST). It's the first National Award in the actor's distinguished career.
Says Irrfan, "I thought I should have got it for Haasil which was my first film with Tigmanshu Dhulia. Then I thought I'd get it for Mira Nair's The Namesake. So it has been a fairly lengthy time-span of disappointments."
More than himself, Irrfan is pleased for his director and for the people who wanted him to get nationally honoured for
. "I hosted a party along with two other National Award winners Nikhil Advani and Shankar Mahadevan on Saturday evening. Tigmanshu couldn't celebrate with me as he was shooting in Lucknow. So, I am now heading for Lucknow to party with him. More than myself, I am happy for Tigmanshu."
Irrfan says he noticed an unusual public participation in the collective desire that he wins. "I was amazed at how passionately people wanted me to get the National Award for Pan Singh Tomar. It was almost like a public campaign. Everyone took it personally. And somewhere when I got the honour, they were relieved more than overjoyed. If I had not won it, I think people would have seen it as another indication of the imminent collapse of the 'system'. In my victory, they feel vindicated."
Irrfan is happy to share the National Award for Best Actor with Vikram Gokhale. "In fact, the actress Usha Jadhav who won the National award for Best Actress, messaged to say how honoured she was to be part of the awards with me. I feel the National Awards are important, as they still have a credibility denied to many of the popular awards. Yes, I feel getting a National Award is prestigious."