The 66th National Film Awards 2019 were finally announced on Friday, 09th August. The awards which are originally announced in April and ceremony is held on May 3rd was deferred due to the general elections. The awards once considered as the most coveted and the ultimate film honor for Indian filmmakers has been reduced to the butt of jokes and memes in recent years.
Before we go down the lane and analyze what led the awards and jury to be called out for, let’s have a look at this years’ winners. Uri: The Surgical Strike, based on the 2016 surgical strikes won big at the awards. The film won 4 awards, including Best Director for Aditya Dhar and Best Actor for leading man Vicky Kaushal who shared the award with much deserving Ayushmann Khuranna. Ayushmann won the award for his brilliant portrayal in Andhadhun. Sriram Raghavan’s thriller hit also won the award for Best Hindi Film.
This year has been turning out to be too good for Ayushmann Khuranna as his film Badhaai Ho won the Most Popular Film Award. Surekha Sikri won the award for Best Supporting Actress at the young age of 75, the actress was much loved as feisty dadi in the flick.
The Best Actress award will be taken home by Keerthy Suresh for her portrayal of Savitri in Mahanati, the film also won the Best Film (Telugu) Award. Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavaat also managed to win few awards, SLB won Best Music Director Award and Arijit Singh won Best Playback Singer Award for his rendition of ‘Binte Dil’. Ghoomar won the award for Best Choreography.
Akshay Kumar is once again in the winners’ list, this time as a producer with Padman winning the award for Best Film on Social Issues. Kannada film KGF, which created ripples across the country for its stellar action sequences won the Best Special Effects Award.
While the winners have been ecstatic and over the moon after their historic win at the historic awards, debates raged online if the awards have been reduced to sham? The debate started with Tamil movies getting snubbed by the jury this year. It’s been 26 years since Kollywood has returned empty-handed from the prestigious awards. Malayalam superstar Mammootty’s fans have been furious at the actor being snubbed for the Best Actor Award. The fans took to Twitter and started trending #justiceformammootty. However, it has to be noted that Mammootty’s performance in the movie Peranbu has been rejected at the South Panel I itself. However, fans took the anger too far when they sent hate mail to the jury to which the jury chairman Rahul Rawail reacted strongly
Vicky Kaushal’s win has particularly created a furor in Bollywood’s fans too, calling it a ‘Nationalist’ win. If we go back to the year 2017, a similar controversy was created when Akshay Kumar won the Best Actor award for Rustom. Many fans took to Twitter and compared Vicky’s win to that of Akshay where he was accused of being beneficiary of favoritism. Fans accused that actors like Nina Gupta, Tabu and Gajraj Rao are being neglected and films like Uri and Vicky Kaushal are winning awards to prove certain section of people. People went on to compare the National Film Awards to other commercial awards saying the latter is also not as biased as the former.
What is your take on this? Do you believe that the National Film Awards have lost their credibility or they are still the most unbiased awards in the country?
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