Regional cinema overshadows Bollywood again at National Film Awards

(Reuters) A film about a young man suffering from depression and the good Samaritans who help him won the top honour at India’s National Film Awards on Friday.

“Kaasav” (Turtle), a Marathi film directed by Sumitra Bhave and Sunil Sukthankar was chosen as the best film as regional language cinema overshadowed Bollywood in most of the award categories.

“It is poetic justice that this award has been announced on World Health Day. We need to talk about depression and mental health just as often as we talk about physical health,” Sukthankar, who along with Bhave has won multiple national awards, told Reuters over phone.

Bollywood winners include actor Akshay Kumar, who was named best actor for his portrayal of a navy officer accused of killing another man in “Rustom”. “Neerja”, the retelling of a real-life flight purser who saved hundreds of lives on a hijacked plane was adjudged the best Hindi film, and Sonam Kapoor won a special mention for her performance as Neerja Bhanot in the movie.

Surabhi Lakshmi won the best actress award for her performance in the Malayalam film “Minnaminugu” (The Firefly), while Rajesh Mapuskar won the best director award for his film “Ventilator”, a Marathi film about a community that rallies around an ailing village elder.

Zaira Wasim, who played young wrestler Geeta Phogat in Nitesh Tiwari’s blockbuster “Dangal”, won best supporting actress, while the gong for best supporting actor went to Manoj Joshi for his role in the Marathi film “Dashakriya”.

Malayalam star Mohanlal won a special jury award for his performances in “Pulimurugan”, “Janatha Garage” and “Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol”. Nagesh Kukunoor’s “Dhanak”, the tale of two children who set out into the Rajasthan desert in search of Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan was the winner in the best children’s film category.

The awards will be presented by the president in the capital on the May 3.


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