Aamir Khan for Taare Zameen Par and Adoor Gopalakrishnan for Malayalam film Naalu Pennungal are among the directors nominated for this year's V. Shantaram Award.
The Rajkamal Academy of Cinematic Excellence (RACE), which for the last 15 years has been annually presenting the awards named after legendary filmmaker V. Shantaram, will give away the 15th awards here on December 26.
Apart from Aamir Khan and Adoor Gopalakrishnan, the others nominated for best director are Mangesh Haldawale for Marathi film Tingya, Ashutosh Gowariker (Jodhaa Akbar), Girish Kasaravalli (Gulabi Talkies in Kannada) and Neeraj Pandey (A Wednesday).
For the best film, the nominations are for A Wednesday, Jodhaa Akbar, Taare Zameen Par, Kadha Parayumpol (Malayalam) and Tingya (Marathi).
Announcing the nominations Friday, RACE chairman, Kiran Shantaram, the son of V. Shantaram, said the award ceremony had to be delayed by a month because of the Mumbai terror attacks.
RACE, founded by V. Shantaram in 1975, follows the same selection process for the awards as the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, which presents the Oscars.
The entries received are polled for nominations among 100 members of RACE from different fields across the country.
The names of films and film personalities are put through the same procedure of voting for final selection of the awards in different categories.
Before Shantaram died in 1990, he had already laid down the norms for the awards now being followed by RACE. As per his wishes, only such entries for films are entertained that are based on original stories and have social relevance. Films with sex and violence are not eligible for competition.
"Which means that only 30 per cent of films produced in India meet the RACE standards. What distinguishes the V. Shantaram Award from other private pan-Indian film awards is that, as my father wanted it, we recognise the director's pivotal role in filmmaking and therefore we present three categories of awards to them - namely, the gold, silver and bronze awards. There is also a category for best debut director award," said the RACE chairman.
AR Rahman tops the list of nominees for best music director for his compositions in the Hrithik Roshan-Aishwariya starrer Jodhaa Akbar. Other music directors are Debjyoti Mishra for his score in Malayalam movie Calcutta News, Mani Sharma for Paragu in Telugu and Shankar-Ehsaan Loy for Taare Zameen Par as well as for Rock On"
Aamir Khan, Mangesh Haldalwe, Neeraj Panday, K.V.S. Pillai and M. Mohanan have been nominated for the best debut director award while Darsheel Safary, Farhan Akhtar, Prachi Desai, Nithya (for Malayalam movie, Akashgopuram) and Sharad Goekar (for Marathi movie, Tingya) will vie for best debut artiste in a lead role category.
For the best script award, Amol Gupte has been nominated for Taare Zameen Par, Blessy for Calcutta News and Neeraj Panday for A Wednesday.
Past winners of the V. Shantaram Awards include Satyajit Ray, Shyam Benegal, Kamalahasan, K. Balachander, Yash Chopra, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Mani Ratnam, Bharatan, Aishwarya Rai and Shah Rukh Khan, among others.
Kiran Shantaram said the award-distribution ceremony would be a subdued affair in view of the Mumbai attacks. But he said all the nominees would be present and the ceremony would be graced by Amitabh Bachchan and other celebrities from the entertainment industry.
"Everybody present will take a pledge for unity and homage to the martyrs (of the Mumbai attacks) would be paid on the occasion," he said.