Amit Masurkar’s Newton, an Indian political satire that became a surprise box office hit (and was India’s foreign-language Oscar entry this year) picked up two honors at India’s 65th National Film Awards, announced Friday.
The government’s annual awards celebrate the best of Indian cinema across various languages, focusing mostly on regional cinema in addition to mainstream Hindi language Bollywood. This year’s jury was headed by Elizabeth director Shekhar Kapur.
Newton won best Hindi-language film and also bagged a best supporting actor special mention for Pankaj Tripathi.
The film follows an honest election supervisor (Rajkummar Rao) who is sent to a remote jungle in central India and is forced to confront rebel guerillas who want to disrupt the vote.
Best film this year went to Rima Das’ Assamese-language coming-of-age drama Village Rockstars. Jayaraj took best director for Malayalam drama Bhayanakam, while Riddhi Sen won best actor for the Bengali feature Nagarkirtan. Best supporting actress went to Divya Dutta for Hindi film Irada while best supporting actor was bagged by Fahad Fazil for Malayalam title Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum.
Best actress went to the late Sridevi for the Hindi drama Mom. As one of India’s most celebrated actresses, Sridevi’s career spanned both Bollywood, including hit titles such as Mr. India, directed by Kapur, and south Indian cinema. She passed away in February at age 54, while attending a family wedding in Dubai.
Last year’s blockbuster hit Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, won for best popular film, and picked up awards for best action direction and best special effects.
Oscar-winning composer A. R. Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire) won best music for acclaimed south Indian director Mani Ratnam’s romantic drama Kaatru Veliyidai.
India’s highest cinematic honor, the Dadasaheb Phalke award, was conferred on the late actor Vinod Khanna, who passed away last April at 70. With a career spanning five decades, Khanna was among Bollywood’s biggest stars in the seventies and eighties, starring in hits such as Mera Gaon Mera Desh and Qurbani.
The awards will be presented on May 3 by India’s President Ram Nath Kovind at an official ceremony in the capital of New Delhi.