Sardar Udham's intense biopic makes the cut : The Tribune India

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Sardar Udham's intense biopic makes the cut

Sardar Udham's intense biopic makes the cut

Nonika Singh

Chandigarh, August 24

Like always, the 69th National Film Awards are a mixed bag. From Shoojit Sircar’s much-acclaimed “Sardar Udham” to blockbuster “RRR” to “Rocketry: The Nambi Effect” to “The Kashmir Files”, it’s quite a potpourri of winners.

“Sardar Udham” bagging the best film award (Hindi) is likely to gladden the hearts of Punjabis and cine buffs too. Headlined by gifted actor Vicky Kaushal, who etched the part of the Punjabi revolutionary with finesse and subtlety, the film stood out for its intensity, especially the heartrending depiction of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre which is believed to have impacted Sardar Udham Singh deeply. In keeping with Sircar’s sensitive sensibility, it kept away from empty rhetoric and unnecessary jingoism. The film may have missed its date with theatres (it had digital release) but certainly found favour with critics and viewers, and now with the National Awards jury headed by renowned director Ketan Mehta.

Yet another engaging biopic that stands truly tall at the National Awards is Rocketry: The Nambi Effect, based on the life of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientist Nambi Narayanan. Directed by Madhavan, who plays the titular lead role, the film has been adjudged the best feature film.

Naysayers, however, are likely to find it ironical that “The Kashmir Files” has won the Nargis Dutt Award for the best film on national integration. Vivek Agnihotri’s hard-hitting directorial about the plight of Kashmiri Pandits has been courting controversy ever since it was released last year. After taking the box office by storm, it was dismissed by detractors, including IFFI (International Film Festival of India, Goa) jury head Nadav Lapid as ‘a propaganda film’. Of course, later he revised his opinion and admitted, “I accept that many feel ‘The Kashmir Files’ is brilliant.” Agnihotri is likely to see the win as a vindication. Incidentally, his other half, Pallavi Joshi, too picks up the best supporting actor award for the same film.

Rise of cinema from the South, particularly Telugu films, is evident not only in Allu Arjun’s unmistakable swag winning him the best actor award for “Pushpa: The Rise-Part 1”, but also in many other triumphs. If he creates history by becoming the first Telugu actor in 68 years to achieve the feat, “RRR” which did India proud by picking up an Oscar is now the recipient of several technical awards as well as a win in background musical score and best singer categories.

Most importantly, as expected, the SS Rajamouli’s magnum opus which has created history with more than one international laurel beat others in the best popular film section.

Since the last few years, mainstream Bollywood is being duly acknowledged and winning many national awards. Women-centric films such as “Gangubai Kathiawadi” and “Mimi” have fetched joint best actress awards for beautiful and talented actresses Alia Bhatt and Kriti Sanon. Pankaj Tripathi, already a National Awardee, wins the best supporting actor again for “Mimi”.

Among other winners is director Nikhil Mahajan, honoured with the best direction award for his Marathi movie “Godavari”. In times when most award shows are losing their sheen, despite murmurs about the selection, National Film Awards retain their stature.

Whether all selected winners fall in the lofty parameters set by the Directorate of Film Festivals of the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting which states that the National Film Awards “aim at encouraging films of aesthetic and technical excellence and social relevance” or not, there is no denying that these awards remain a badge of honour.

Every year, a national panel appointed by the government selects the winning entry, and the award ceremony is held in New Delhi, where the President of India presents the awards.

#Jallianwala Bagh #Kashmir #Shaheed Udham Singh

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