'Ship of Theseus' Wins Top Prize at India's National Film Awards

Ridhi Sidhi Productions
"Ship of Theseus"

The government-run awards also honored Bollywood sports biopic “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag” and comedy “Jolly LLB” in addition to regional-language films such as acclaimed arthouse feature “Fandry."

NEW DELHI — The Indian government's National Film Awards for 2013 were announced Wednesday, with breakthrough arthouse film Ship of Theseus winning best feature film. The directorial debut by Anand Gandhi premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival after it was picked up for international distribution by Fortissimo Films. The Mumbai-set film revolves around a group of characters from various backgrounds, whose lives are unknowingly connected.

Another Fortissimo pickup, Ashim Ahluwalia's Miss Lovely, shared the special jury award with Marathi-language film Yellow. Focusing on Mumbai's seedy underground B-movie culture, Miss Lovely also won best production design.

Viacom18 Motion Pictures' Bollywood sports biopic Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, based on the life of legendary athlete Milkha Singh, was named best popular film. Viacom18 saw another winner in its political thriller Madras Cafe, which won two technical awards including best location sound and sound design.
Another real-life story, Shahid — based on a slain human-rights activist-lawyer — earned best director honors for Hansal Mehta and a best actor nod for Raj Kumar. Kumar shared the award with Suraj Venjaramoodu for his turn in South Indian Malayalam-language film Perariyathavar. The best actress prize went to Geetanjali Thapa for Liar's Dice, while Saurabh Shukla was named best supporting actor for his turn as a judge in courtroom satire Jolly LLB. The Fox Star Studios film also won for best Hindi-language film.

The best supporting actress trophy was shared by Amruta Subhash for Marathi-language film Astu and Aida El-Kashef for Theseus. Marathi-language pic Fandry was tapped as best debut film for its director Nagraj Manjule in addition to garnering a best child artist award for Somnath Avghade.

Hindi pic Rangbhoomi was named best non-feature film, while Bengali pic Jaatishwar bagged four awards including best male playback singer for Rupankar, best costume designer for Sabarni Das, best make-up artist for Vikram Gaikwad and best music direction for Kabir Suman.

One of last year's most acclaimed breakout hits, The Lunchbox — which wowed critics and buyers at Cannes, where it was picked up for North American distribution by Sony Pictures Classics — was overlooked for award recognition. Director Ritesh Batra's feature debut also generated strong buzz as a potential Oscar entry, but The Good Road was India's submission instead, which generated a fair amount of controversy.

The National Film Awards are set to place at a ceremony in early May in New Delhi, where Indian President Pranab Mukherjee will hand out the prizes.