Salim Kumar, who was named for the best actor National Award Thursday for Malayalam film Adaminde Makan Abu, expressed his joy at the honour but lamented that the film has not even been released in Kerala.
"Believe me, I was very sad when this film never got attention even in any local film awards. And obviously, when I got the best actor award in the country, you can imagine my happiness," Salim told reporters here.
The film, which has not been released in Kerala and has not won recognition in the home state, also bagged the best film, best cinematography and best music director awards at the 58th National Film Awards.
For Salim, known for his spoofs and slapstick comedy in films, it's a first in a serious role.
The actor plays an old vendor who roams the streets of Malabar selling yunani medicines and 'itr' (perfume) to earn enough money to perform the Haj.
"Please understand that both me and the director (Salim Ahamed) are more into doing comedy films. The director is a popular writer of comedy scripts and see what we have achieved. This film which has won laurels is a lot different from the usual Malayalam films," added Salim.
Produced under the banner of Alan Media, the film also stars yesteryears Bollywood heroine Zarina Wahab and popular Malayalam actors Mukesh, Kalabhavan Mani, Suraj Venjaramood, Nedumudu Venu, Mala Aravindan and Thampi Antony.
Salim, 42, started his career as a mimicry artiste and has acted in more than 125 films.
Among his most popular films are
and his latest release
"I am greatly indebted to film personalities like Siddiq Shamir, Nadir Shah, director Kamal and Lal Jose who cast me for the first time. My happiness is something that just can't be explained," said Salim.
Adaminde Makan Abu director Salim Ahamed said: "I knew the potential that Salim has and my decision to cast him has proved absolutely right. I am also happy with this national recognition."
The 58th National Film Awards were announced in Delhi on Thursday.