For its ‘powerful presentation’ of a true life story which highlights the urgent need for a ‘social support system for sportspersons especially in rural India’, Paan Singh Tomar has bagged the 60th National Award for the best feature film. Lauded for its “sleek and sensitive handling of a not-too-common subject,” the movie, according to the jury, left the viewer with a realisation of the “decadent value system prevalent in the society.”

The Hindi film, Vicky Donor, shared the award for the best “popular film providing wholesome entertainment” with the Malayalam film, Ustad Hotel. Shepherds of Paradise, portraying the life of a nomadic shepherd family in Kashmir, was awarded the best non-feature film. Bedabrata Pain’s Hindi film, Chittagong, and the Siddhartha Siva-directed Malayalam film, 101 Chodiyangal, shared the Indira Gandhi award for the best debut film of a director.

The prestigious awards, which recognise films across languages and regions, were announced in the capital on Monday afternoon. The jury for feature films was headed by Basu Chatterjee, while Aruna Raje headed the non-feature films jury.

Sportsperson to dacoit

The best actor award was given jointly to Irrfan, for his lead characterising the transformation of an “international sportsperson to a dacoit” in Paan Singh Tomar, and Vikram Gokhale, for a well-calibrated performance, in the Marathi film, Anumati. Usha Jadhav was declared the best actress for doing “full justice to her character” as a “rustic housewife in an unlikely setting of a cremation ground” in the Marathi film, Dhag. The film’s director, Shivaji Lotan Patil, was also awarded the best director for his “creative craft throughout the brilliant film.”

Malayalam films swept awards in the social category. For its tale of “communal harmony,” and “the bonding between a Hindu and Muslim lady,” Thanichalla Njan got the Nargis Dutt award for the best feature film on national integration. Spirit, depicting the ills of alcoholism, bagged the best film on social issues. And Black Forest, set in a tribal backdrop, got the best film on environmental conservation.

The Tamil film, Vishwaroopam, which was drawn into a controversy, was awarded for the best production design and best choreography.

Oh My God, the Hindi film which critiqued blind faith and drew flak from conservative leaders, shared the prize for best screenplay with Kahani and Ustad Hotel.

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