Wraps finally off India's 2005 film nods

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NEW DELHI -- The Indian government's National Film Awards for 2005 were finally announced late Tuesday after a one-year delay caused by court cases that challenged the film selection process and alleged that the awards were rigged.

The award for best feature film went to Budhadeb Dasgupta's "Kaalpurush -- Memories of the Mist," the New Delhi-based Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said.

The award for 2005's most popular film went to "Rang De Basanti" (Paint It Yellow) by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra.

The long delay began last year when a group of Mumbai-based documentary filmmakers filed a petition demanding that their films be exempt from censor board certification, a request subsequently granted by the Mumbai High Court.

Further delays were caused when National Film Awards jury member Shyamali Banerjee Deb filed a case in the Delhi High Court last year alleging that the awards were "rigged" by government officials.

Deb also challenged the selection of the film "Black," considered an adaptation of 1962 Helen Keller biopic "The Miracle Worker." Deb stated in her petition that "a film which is an adaptation of a foreign film should not be considered since the awards are only meant for original work."

In a July 30 ruling, the Delhi High Court overruled the petition, clearing the way for the awards to be announced.

Other awards announced Tuesday, which will be celebrated in a ceremony in New Delhi this year, included the 2005 award for best first-time director, which went to Pradeep Sarkar for "Parineeta" (The Married Woman).

Superstar Amitabh Bachchan won best actor for his performance as a reformed alcoholic struggling to give a physically handicapped child a new life in "Black."

Rakesh Sharma's controversial documentary "Final Solution" won a jury award for its depiction of events related to a 2002 train-burning incident in Gujarat that killed about 60 people and sparked Hindu-Muslim riots.

Rahul Dholakia won best director for the controversial "Parazania," based on real events revolving around rioting in 2002. His lead, Sarika, who goes by one name only, won best actress for her portrayal of a mother who loses her son in the riots.
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