Staff Reporter

“Cinema can uphold secularism, equality and democracy; it can improve status of women in society”

NEW DELHI: Veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal, who broke new ground with his films, was honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for 2005 for his contribution to Indian cinema at the 53rd National Film Awards-2006 ceremony at Vigyan Bhawan here on Friday. The awards were given away by President Pratibha Patil.

Bengali film “Kaalpurush – Memories in the Mist,” directed by Budhadeb Dasgupta received the award for the Best Feature Film. One of the biggest box-office hits of 2006, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra-directed ‘Rang De Basanti,’ was adjudged the Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment.

The Nargis Dutt Award for the Best Feature Film on National Integration went to Malayalam film ‘Daivanamathil’ by director Jayaraj. Tamil Film ‘Dhavamai Dhavamirante’ was declared the Best Film on Family Welfare.

Sanjay Dutt, Saif Ali Khan and Vidya Balan starrer ‘Parineeta’ won the Indira Gandhi Award for the Best First Film of a Director for Pradeep Sarkar.

The inspiring story of a deaf and mute boy obsessed with cricket — ‘Iqbal’ — directed by Nagesh Kukunoor won the award for the Best Film on Social Issues.

Based on a real life incident, Rahul Dholakia’s efforts to capture the horrors of the Gujarat riots on celluloid through ‘Parzania’ fetched him the coveted Best Director Award. Sarika was given the Best Actress award in recognition of her performance for the same film. Mr. Dholakia received the Best Supporting Actor on the behalf of noted actor Naseeruddin Shah for ‘Parzania’.

Superstar Amitabh Bachchan won the Best Actor award for Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film ‘Black’ that was also adjudged the Best Feature Film in Hindi language.

The audience gave Mr. Bachchan a thunderous applause when he went up to the stage to receive the award. Dressed in a black bandhgala, he was accompanied by wife Jaya and children Abhishek Bachchan and Shweta Nanda.

Sai Kumar’s portrayal of a nine-year-old boy with aspirations beyond his means won him the Award for the Best Child Artist in Telugu film ‘Bommalata — A Bellyful of Dreams.’

The Best Supporting Actress award was conferred on Oorvashi for her highly credible performance in Malayalam film ‘Achhuvinte Amma.’

The Award for Best Music Direction was given to Lalgudi Jayaraman for his musical score in the Tamil film ‘Sringaram.’ The film’s producer Madhu Ambat received the honour on his behalf. Ace dance director Saroj Khan got the honours for Best Choreography for the same film. Mr. Ambat received the award for the Best Cinematography as well for ‘Sringaram.’

Naresh Iyer and Shreya Ghoshal were given the awards for best male and female playback singers respectively. While the former got it for ‘Rang De Basanti’, Shreya got her third national award for her rendition in ‘Paheli.’

The Award for the Best Special Effects was given to Tamil film ‘Anniyan’ for its highly imaginative and creative special effects.

Addressing the audience after giving away the awards, President Pratibha Patil said there was still a lot of “untapped potential” in the country and the Indian film industry must accommodate and harness it to ensure that India claimed its rightful place in world cinema.

“With increasing popularity and commercial success of Indian cinema arise questions about its responsibilities. Cinema does not exist in an isolated vacuum, removed from reality. Cinema expresses the social, political, economic and cultural ethos of the society in which it is produced and in turn cinema also has an impact on societies. The Indian film industry must ensure that it is socially responsible and committed to the greater cause of upholding human values,” she said.

“Indian cinema can play a crucial role in upholding the cherished values of secularism, equality and democracy. Cinema can also contribute in improving the status of women in society, eradicating social evils and inspiring its audience to be patriotic and committed to the welfare of the nation and to humanity at large,” said the President.

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