'Court' Wins Best Feature at India's National Film Awards

Courtesy of Golden Orange Film Festival, Antalya

Zeitgeist Films will release the movie, which has also won honors in Venice and Mumbai, in the U.S. this summer.

Indian drama Court won the best feature honor at the country's 62nd National Film Awards on Tuesday.

The government-backed awards were announced at a press conference ahead of an official ceremony on May 3.

First-time director Chaitanya Tamhane's Court takes a look at India's judicial system. The drama generated strong buzz on the festival circuit last year, playing at 19 festivals and winning 10 jury prizes. 

Among its accolades, Tamhane was awarded the Venice Film Festival's Lion of the Future award, with Court also earning the best film award in the Horizons section. At the Mumbai Film Festival, Court won the best film by a first-time director in the international category.

New York-based Zeitgeist Films recently acquired Court for U.S. distribution, with an opening set for the summer. In India, the film will release on April 17.

Other winners announced at the National Film Awards were Kangana Ranaut, who was honored as best actress for her turn in Viacom18 Motion Pictures' breakout hit Queen as a young Delhi woman who is ditched by her fiance just days before their wedding. She then decides to go on a solo journey to Paris and Amsterdam, which was set to be their honeymoon. Queen also won the award for best Hindi film.

Another Viacom18 title, sports drama Mary Kom, won the honor for best popular film. It stars Priyanka Chopra in the title role inspired by India's first female Olympic gold medal-winning boxer.

The best actor award went to South Indian actor Vijay for his turn as a transgender person in Nan Avanalla Avalu. Srijith Mukherjee won best director for Bengali-language thriller Chtotushkone.

Another Bengali feature, Asha Jaor Majhe, won the Indira Gandhi Award for best debut film by a director (Aditya Vikram Sengupta).

Walt Disney India's unit, UTV Motion Pictures, saw its title Haider — director Vishal Bharadwaj's take on Hamlet — winning awards for best costumes (Dolly Ahluvalia), best music and dialogue (Bharadwaj), best male playback singer (Sukhvinder Singh) and best choreography (Sudesh Adhana).

The NFAs will be handed out at an official ceremony in New Delhi in the presence of Indian President Pranab Mukherjee.

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