South Indian Films Outshine Bollywood in 58th National Film Awards

The government-run awards honor Malayalam title 'Adaminte Makan Abu' as best film, while Disney India's 'Do Dooni Chaar' wins best Hindi film.

NEW DELHI -- South Indian films swept India's 58th National Film Awards with Malayalam film Adaminte Makan Abu winning best film, while best director went to Vetrimaran for Tamil film Aadukulam, set in the bloodsport world of cock fighting. 

The winners received a cash prize of about 250,000 rupees ($5,555) each. Both films also saw their respective lead actors – Salim for Adaminte Makan Abu and Dhanush for Aadukulam -- sharing the best actor award. Aadukulam bagged five awards including best screenplay, editing and choreography.

The best actress award was also shared between Saranya Ponvannan for Tamil title Thenmerkku Paruvakkatru and Mitalee Jagtap Varadkar for Marathi language title Baboo Band Baja, which also picked a best debut director award for Rajesh Pinjani.

Marathi cinema also saw a best jury award winner in female empowerment drama Mee Sundhutai Sapkal, while superhero caper Tamil title Enthiran won best special effects “for bringing of age a spectrum of visual special effects in Indian cinema.” Starring South Indian superstar Rajnikant, the film was also dubbed in Hindi as Robot and became one of the biggest hits of all time.

In contrast, the few winners among Bollywood Hindi titles included Walt Disney India's live action debut comedy Do Dooni Chaar winning best Hindi film, while action caper Dabbang won “best popular film providing wholesome entertainment.” Gangster drama Ishqiya picked up technical trophies for best music, best female playback singer and best sound design.

“There were some truly great films from the south this year. They bridge the crassness of commercial cinema and the artistry of parallel cinema in a way that is reminiscent of Hollywood,” said jury member and advertising filmmaker Prahlad Kakkar.

The awards will be presented in New Delhi by India's President Pratibha Patil at a ceremony for which a date will be announced later.