The 53rd National Film Awards (NFA) may be in a state of suspended animation owing to a legal tangle, but stray leaks to the sections of the media have fuelled wild speculation on the names that have made it to the list of prize winners in the top categories.
In the major acting stakes, Amitabh Bachchan has reportedly been adjudged the Best Actor for his performance in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Black. If and when his name is officially announced, this would be his second Best Actor National Award. Amitabh had last won for Agneepath in 1990.
Speculation is rife that certain sections of the ruling political establishment in New Delhi might exploit the current air of uncertainty and seek to knock off Amitabh’s name from the list. It is well known that there is no love lost between the Bachchans and the Gandhi family. But that, given the insignificant yet sensitive nature of the issue, seems rather unlikely to result in any form of political intervention at this juncture.
No National Film Award is ever free from controversy, but in most other categories this year it might not be easy to fault the jury’s decisions.
|Amitabh Bachchan has reportedly been adjudged the Best Actor for his performance in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Black. If and when his name is officially announced, this would be his second Best Actor National Award. Amitabh had last won for Agneepath in 1990.|
In one major surprise, Sarika, the female lead of the yet-to-be-released
, is believed to have narrowly beaten odds-on favourite Rani Mukherjee’s
star turn to the post.
One of the actors that Amitabh outscored – Anupam Kher – has won a consolation Special Jury Prize for his superbly modulated performance in Jahnu Barua’s Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Maara.
Naseeruddin Shah’s performance in Nagesh Kukunoor’s Iqbal fetched the veteran actor an award in the Best Supporting Actor category.
The Best Film award has, not surprisingly, gone to Buddhadeb Dasgupta’s Bengali film, Kaalpurush – Memories in the Mist, while the unfancied Rahul Dholakia has been named the Best Director for Parzania. Black, which ran Kaalpurush precariously close, had to be content with the Best Hindi Film award.
For the Kolkata-based and internationally feted Dasgupta, this would be the fifth Best Film National Award, the earlier four being Bagh Bahadur, Charachar, Lal Darja and Mondo Meyer Upakhyan.
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Rang De Basanti, censored last year but released in early 2006 to overwhelming popular ovation, was adjudged the best film promoting national integration. Aparna Sen’s 15 Park Avenue has won the Best English film award.
When will these names receive the official seal? According to sources in the know, the Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF) has sought legal opinion on whether the awards can be announced even before an appeal is filed against the Mumbai high court ruling allowing independent films, especially in the non-features category, to enter the NFA fray without censor certificates.
The information and broadcasting ministry’s line of argument is that censorship certificates have been made mandatory by a legally binding clause in the National Film Awards rules and regulations and that a court cannot reverse that. If necessary, the ministry will go all the way up to the Supreme Court to assert its rights to follow time-honoured rules.
If legal opinion permits, the DFF might go ahead and officially announce the awards “within a week”, say sources. But there may be many a twist and turn yet.