This year’s National Film Awards saw entries as well as winners from the length and breadth of India. The Assamese film Village Rockstars dominated the winners’ list bagging several awards under different categories. The Assamese film industry walked away with the coveted National Film Award after nearly three decades, which marks one of the highlights of the entire announcement ceremony.
The coveted Dadasaheb Phalke Award -- the country's highest cinema honour -- was reserved for late actor Vinod Khanna, known for films like "Muqaddar Ka Sikandar", "The Burning Train" and "Amar, Akbar, Anthony".
Even the late Sridevi was given a posthumous Best Actress honour for her intense role as a mother in her last released film "Mom".
"Sridevi was not given the honour because of my relationship with her, but because of her contribution in 'Mom'," jury chairperson Shekhar Kapur, who worked with her in "Mr. India", told the media.
The winners' list has a good mix of Malayalam, Marathi, Bengali and Assamese films.
"Who knows where is Jasari spoken? Has anyone heard of Tulu?" Kapur said as he announced the winners on Friday.
"This is national integration," he stressed.
Movies in the languages other than those specified in the VIII Schedule of the Constitution in the feature film categories were also awarded, the jury pointed out. The award for the Best Jasari Film was given to "Sinjar", Best Tulu Film to "Paddayi" and the Best Ladakhi Film to "Walking With The Wind", which won two other honours.
Only "Newton" emerged as the big winner out of Hindi cinema as it bagged the Best Hindi Film award and a Special Mention for actor Pankaj Tripathi.
While Pankaj was emotional about winning an award in a race he never knew he was in, "Newton" director Amit V Masurkar hoped the award and the film's commercial success creates a bigger space for relevant political cinema.
Divya Dutta bagged the Best Supporting Actress for "Irada", which was named Best Film on Environment Conservation/Preservation. Divya said it is such achievements that make an actor feel alive again.
Ganesh Acharya scored the Best Choreography Award for "Gori tu latth maar" from "Toilet: Ek Prem Katha".
Oscar winning composer A.R. Rahman won two honours -- music direction award for Tamil film "Kaatru Veliyidai" and acing background music for "Mom".
"Regional cinema is giving Hindi cinema a run for its money," Kapur, who led a 10-member jury for this year's National Film Awards, told IANS.
"The standard of performances in some of the regional films is completely stunning. Hindi films cannot compete with them, not in the state they are... And I know why... Our Hindi films try too hard to become everything. These are rooted and that's why they are able to make it," Kapur added.
Rima Das' "Village Rockstars", about the spirit of poor but fun-loving children, also won the Best Editing honour for the filmmaker. The movie, apart from being named Best Feature Film, got Best Child Artist honour for Bhanita Das and Best Location Sound Recordist Award for Mallika Das.
Utpal Borpujari, whose debut feature film "Ishu" won the Best Assamese Film award, said "Village Rockstars" has given the Assamese film community a reason to rejoice.
S.S. Rajamouli's magnum opus "Baahubali 2: The Conclusion" won the Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment, apart from bagging the Best Special Effects honour.
Riddhi Sen won the Best Actor for Bengali film "Nagarkirtan", which has even got Best Costume Designer, Best Make-Up Artist and a Special Jury Award.
The Best Director title was bagged by Jayaraj for "Bhayanakam", which also won Best Screenplay (Adapted) and Best Cinematography.
In the music category, veteran K.J. Yesudas and Shashaa Tirupati won the best playback singers, while J.M. Prahalad won in the best lyrics category for the song "Muthuratna".
The Indira Gandhi Award for Best Debut Film of a Director went to "Sinjar", a movie from Lakshwadweep, which was also named the Best Jasari Film.
Marathi movie "Dhappa" was awarded the Nargis Dutt Award For Best Feature Film On National Integration, while Malayalam movie "Aaalorukkam", directed by V.C. Abhilash was awarded the Best Film on Social Issues.
Other regional films that won include "Kachcha Limboo" (Marathi), "Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum" (Malayalam), "Hebbettu Ramakka" (Kannada), "Hello Arsi" (Oriya), "To Let" (Tamil), "Ghazi" (Telugu), "Mayurakshi" (Bengali) and "Dhh" (Gujarati).
The Best Children's Film was given to Marathi movie "Mhorkya", and Best Animation honour is shared by "The Fish Curry" and "The Basket".
(With IANS Inputs)