NEW DELHI: Hindi films dominated the 54th National Film Awards for 2006. While Rajkumar Hirani‘s Lage Raho Munnabhai won four awards, Vishal Bhardwaj’s Omkara took three.
Lage Raho Munnabhai won the best popular film, "for providing wholesome entertainment", best screenplay, best lyrics, and best supporting actor award, that went to Dilip Prabhavalkar. Konkona Sen Sharma was declared the best supporting actress for Omkara.
All the four awards for Punjabi films, presented by President Pratibha Patil, went to the same film Waris Shah – Ishq da Waaris , directed by late Manoj Punj and starring pop star Gurdas Mann. Also, all the four for Konkani went to one film, Rajendra Talak‘s Antarnad.
The best feature film award went to Malayalam movie Pulijanmam.
Kannada film Care of Footpath, produced by Shylaja Shrikanth, brought 12-year-old Kishan S S the best children‘s film director award. The film had been directed by Kishan when the child was nine years old. He has now found a place for himself in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the youngest film director in the world.
Dilip Kumar, and veteran actress Saroja Devi received the Lifetime Achievement Awards to commemorate the 60th anniversary of India‘s Independence, and Tapan Sinha received the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for contribution to cinema for 2006. The Award, instituted by the Union Government, carries a cash price of Rs 1 million, a Swaran Kamal and a shawl.
Awards were presented in 31 different categories in the feature film section and 22 categories in the non-feature film section. Three awards were given away for best writing on cinema.
While the best feature film award in Hindi was given away to Khosla Ka Ghosla, the best feature film award in English went to Quest.
While Bengali film Podokkhep brought veteran actor Soumitra Chatterjee an award for the best actor, Tamil cinema‘s Priyamani was honoured with the best actress title for Paruthi Veeran.
The award for the best animation feature film, introduced this year, went to the Telugu film Kittu , directed by B Satya and animated by Kodavanti Bharaj. Another award introduced this year - best make-up artist - went to Anil Motiram Palande for Traffic Signal.
Additionally, Madhur Bhandarkar was named the best director for Traffic Signal. Divya Chahadkar was given the best child artist award for Antarnad, a Konkani film, the Indira Gandhi award for best first film was taken home by Malayalam film Eakantham and Hindi film Kabul Express.
The best non-feature award went to Bishar Blues by Amitabh Chakraborty. The film also received the audiograohy (Partha Barman) and editing (Amitabh Chakraborty and Amit Debnath) awards.
The first non-feature film of a director went to Andhiyum by Jacob Varghese. The renowned Aribam Syam Sarma, who has won numerous awards, shared the best biographical film award for Guru Laimayum Thambalnagoubi Devi with Minukku by M R Rajan.
The children‘s film Nokpokliba, directed and animated by Meren Imchen, won the best animation award for non-feature film while the best short fiction film award went to Ek Aadesh – Command for Choti by Ramesh Asher who also won the best director award.
G P Ramachandran (Malayalam) and Rafique Baghdadi (English) shared the award for best film critic awards while the best book on cinema award was given to ‘Helen: the life and times of an H-Bomb’ by Jerry Pinto. Assamese critic Utpal Datta received a special mention.
The feature film jury was chaired by renowned filmmaker Buddhadeb Dasgupta with thirteen other members, while the non-feature jury was headed by K Bikram Singh with five other members. The book jury, with three members, was headed by Madhu Jain.
I&B Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunshi, who was present on the occasion, stressed the need for filmmakers to shoulder a social commitment through their films. He said the national film awards had not only helped regional cinema, but also promoted an understanding among different cultures within the country. He claimed that the film industry had seen resurgence in the three years. He announced that in reference to the wishes of the president expressed during the presentation of the 53rd national film awards, the award money had been increased five times.
Interestingly, the National Film Awards for 2005 were also presented early this year. This is because the process for the 53rd National Awards for 2005 had got mired twice in court cases, first on the requirement of censorship and then when feature film jury member Shyamali Banerjee Deb challenged some of the awards.