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Filmmakers like Shyam Benegal, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, R Balki and first-timer Sanjay Puran Singh are a happy lot as each of their films clinched coveted honours at the 57th National film awards announced here today.
Benegal's Well Done Abba
has won the National Award in the Film with a Social Message category and even though the veteran filmmaker has won about 17 National awards earlier, he said that recognition can't be "measured" and its always good to have another one.
"I am very pleased with the award since it is a recognition for the film. National awards are always special and welcome," the 75-year-old director told PTI.
The film is a political satire with Boman Irani, Minnisha Lamba and Rajit Kapur playing pivotal roles.
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's second directorial Delhi 6
bagged the Nargis Dutt award for Best Film on National Integration. It is his second National honour after Rang De Basanti
bagged one in 2006.
"It feels good when one's work has been awarded. It is especially a great honour since it is the National award when the country is honouring, not some commercially-motivated prize," said Mehra.
Delhi 6, which starred Abhishek Bachchan, Sonam Kapoor, Om Puri and Waheeda Rehman, is based in Chandni Chowk of old Delhi and deals with issues like caste discrimination, communal divide and other social stigma.
"I am most happy since this was a socially oriented film showing the religious and cast divide in India. A film like this which goes against the current trend takes time to get its recognition. I hope this award gives birth to 10 more films like Delhi 6
," said Mehra.
Amitabh Bachchan starrer Paa
won the Best Hindi Film award, and its director R Balki called the recognition an added "bonus".
"For me the most important thing is to make a film and people should love it. I just wanted to make a good film in the form of Paa
. Awards are a bonus and yes, they do call for a celebration," said Balki.
Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan, who won the Best Debutante Director award for his sports-based film 'Lahore', said the honour came to him as a surprise.
"This is a very special moment for me and ultimate encouragement as a filmmaker. I was sure that Farooq Sheikh would receive an award but my winning the National award came as a surprise," said Chauhan.
Sheikh won the Best Supporting Actor award for the film, which carries the message of unity and sportsman spirit between India and Pakistan with the backdrop of a the sport of kick boxing.