Ritiesh Deshmukh, Rajkummar Rao win National Awards

The ceremony for the 61st National Film Awards was held recently on 3rd May to acknowledge   the best Indian films of 2013. The honorable president of India, Dr. Pranab Mukherjee presented 80 awards in both non-feature and feature categories.

The list of winners contained industry veterans like lyricist Gulzar as well as a young face like actor Rajkummar Rao. Popular actor Ritiesh Deshmukh was also awarded. Though Riteish’s claim to fame is as an actor, at this night he was awarded for a different ‘role’.  He is the producer of the Marathi film, Yellow which was given a special mention by the juries and landed him his first national award. After receiving the award Riteish Deshmukh dedicated the award to his father and said the following, “My first National Award. This one is for My Father - He would have been proud and said with a smile, well done beta.”  The film Yellow, directed by Mahesh Limaye and produced by Riteish and Uttung Thakur, deals with mother-daughter relationship and a special needs child, Gauri. It is based on a true story and the real life Gauri Gadgil played herself in the film. It received critical acclaim upon its release.

On the other hand, young actor Rajkummar Rao won the best actor award. He was presented with the  ‘Rajat Kamal’( silver lotus)  award for his performance in the Hindi film, 'Shahid'. He shared this prestigious award with Suraj Venjaramoodu, who won for his work in Malayalam film 'Perariyathavar'. Rao later said, I met Shahid's family and they organized a small party for my win. They were equally happy like the way I am."  The film’s director Hansal Mehta was also presented with the best director ‘ Swarna Kamal’ award. ‘Shahid’ the 2013 film, produced by noted director Anurag Kashyap,  is a biopic based on Shahid Azmi,  lawyer and human rights activist who was killed in Mumbai in the year 2010. The film was praised by critics upon release and was also declared a hit at the box office. This is the first national award for the talented actor who has also received praise for his work in other successful films like- ‘Queen’ and ‘Kai Po Che’.

Other notable winners this year are- ‘Ship of Theseus’ (Best Feature Film), ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ (Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment), Geetanjali Thapa ( Best actress for ‘Liar’s Dice’), and Saurabh Shukla (Best Supporting Actor for ‘Jolly LLB’).