Indian actress Tillotama Shome's performance as a girl who is raised as a boy in Qissa on Thursday won her the best actress title in the New Horizons Competition of the seventh Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF). She shares the title with Norwegian actress Julia Wildschutt.
The Bengali actress was here for the film's screening earlier this week, however, she had left for India much before the awards ceremony. The film's director Anup Singh received the honour on her behalf.
"Tillotama will be very happy. My actress was like magic. When she came to meet me for the role, I knew she was my actress, and she never let me down," Singh said here as he received the award.
Nevertheless, the actress was quick to take to Twitter to share her excitement.
"The most heartwarming phone call from Anup Singh and Irrfan Khan on winning best actress at ADFF 2013.This is the FIRST prize of my life," she posted.
Qissa is a Punjabi film, which stars Irrfan as a Sikh man, who plays father to Tillotama's character. The film, which was welcomed warmly at ADFF, dwells on the gender crisis that Tillotama's character has to experience due to her father's obsession with having a male child.
She essays the character effortlessly.
The New Horizons Competition of ADFF honours the work of first-time and second-time directors from around the world, featuring fresh styles and challenging ideas in narrative films.
The jury's section comprised Yesim Ustaoglu (Turkey), Irene Bignardi (Italy), Nour-Eddine Lakhmari (Morocco), Valery Todorovsky (Ukraine), Michel Kammoun (Lebanon).
Julia was awarded for the film Elsk meg (Love Me).