President Droupadi Murmu gave away the National Film Awards for the year 2020 under various categories at 68th edition of the ceremony on Friday.
The Dadasaheb Phalke Award was conferred on veteran actor Asha Parekh, an accomplished Indian classical dancer who has also been a director and producer. Speaking on the occasion, the President said the award to Ms. Parekh was a recognition of women empowerment.
Ms. Murmu said films had the widest impact among all the art forms and were a medium for an artistic expression of our value system. “Cinema was an effective tool for nation building as well. As the nation celebrated “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav”, feature and non-feature films related to the life stories of freedom fighters, known and unknown, would be welcomed by the Indian audience,” she said.
The President said the audience looked forward to such films that bolstered unity in the society, accelerated the pace of national development and strengthened the efforts of environmental protection.
Highlighting the recognition enjoyed by the Indian music abroad, the President said it had been a great medium for spreading India’s soft-power globally. She pointed out that in July, a popular song from a 1960s’ Hindi film was performed by a foreign band at the closing ceremony of Shanghai Co-operation Organisation in Uzbekistan.
Information & Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said he held a strong belief today cinema had crossed the boundaries of theatre and reached the comforts of homes and mobile phones with the advent of OTT. The Minister commended the film stars for their contribution during the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the 68th edition, Tamil movie “Soorarai Pottru”got the national awards for the Best Feature Film, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Background Score and the Best Screenplay, while “Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior” bagged the awards for the Best Actor, which went to Ajay Devgn, and for the Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment. The Best Actor award was shared by Suriya for his work in Sudha Kongara-directed “Soorarai Pottru”.
Aparrna Balamurali won the Best Actress award for the Tamil film that also got the recognition for the Best Background Score (G.V. Prakash Kumar), and the Best Screenplay (Shalini Usha Nair and Sudha Kongara).
Late Sachidanandan K.R. was adjudged the best director for Malayalam movie, AK Ayyappanum Koshiyum. The Best Female Playback Singer prize went to Nanchamma for the same movie, while Rahul Deshpande got recognised as the Best Male Playback Singer. “Testimony of Ana” received the Best Non-Feature Film award. Manoj Muntashir got the award for Best Lyrics for the Hindi movie ‘Saina’.