NEW DELHI — The 63rd National Film Awards ceremony here May 3 had the glitz and glamour of Bollywood with Amitabh Bachchan and Kangana Ranaut getting the Best Actor and Best Actress honors.

President Pranab Mukherjee presented the awards at the ceremony at Vigyan Bhavan, which had talent from all the regional cinematic worlds across India under one roof. 

A total of 21 awards were given in the Non-Feature Film category, while the number of awards in the Feature Film category was 51. And to add to it, three awards were given for Best Writing on Cinema. 

While Bachchan, dressed in a black suit, picked up the award for his act as a Bengali father in “Piku” — which also starred Deepika Padukone — Ranaut, looking radiant in a strapless gown, got the honor for her superlative dual act in “Tanu Weds Manu Returns.” She has previously won National Awards twice for her roles in “Fashion” and “Queen.”

In the Feature Film category, the award for the Best Feature Film was given to filmmaker S.S. Rajamouli’s southern magnum opus “Baahubali - The Beginning,” produced by Shobu Yarlagadda and Arka Mediaworks Pvt Ltd. 

The talent of the Hindi film industry was lauded along with regional film industries like Bengali, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu and Assamese.

The president said that the “Indian films truly reflected the Indian character of unity and diversity.”

Mukherjee complimented the award winners who included newcomers as well as legends of Indian cinema, and added that the awards this year reflected all aspects of cinema, including digitization and technology.

It was the tragic romance saga of Maratha warrior Peshwa Bajirao I (played by Ranveer Singh) and Mastani (Deepika Padukone) in “Bajirao Mastani” that shone through the ceremony as it scooped up many honors. Sanjay Leela Bhansali got the Best Director award for it, and Remo D’Souza won the award for Best Choreography.

Shriram Iyengar, Saloni Dhatrak and Sujeet Sawant won for the movie’s production design.

In the audiography section, Biswadeep Chatterjee’s sound designing and Justin Ghose’s re-recording of the final mixed track for the Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone-starrer, have been honored.

“Masaan,” directed by Neeraj Ghaywan and produced by Phantom Films, received the Indira Gandhi Award for Best Debut Film of a Director. 

Superstar Salman Khan’s onscreen journey to Pakistan from India via “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” became the Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment. The film’s director, Kabir Khan, looking sophisticated in a black bandhgala, received the award. 

The gala also witnessed performances by the 63rd National Film Award winners – Monali Thakur, who won the Best Female Playback Singer award for the song “Moh Moh Ke Dhaage” from “Dum Laga Ke Haisha” and Mahesh Kale, who won the Best Male Playback Singer award for the Marathi film “Katyar Kaljat Ghusli.”

Filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj bagged the Best Screenplay Writer (Adapted) award for “Talvar.” The Best Screenplay Writer (Original) award was shared by Juhi Chaturvedi (“Piku”) and Himanshu Kumar (“Tanu Weds Manu Returns”). 

Just after the announcement of the award winners back in March, many questions surfaced pertaining to why regional cinema and talent was sidelined.

Hinting at the stir, the president also spoke of the importance of films in the context of variety and diversity of India and the important role it played in unifying the nation. 

Bachchan, who has earlier won the National Film Award thrice for the films “Agneepath,” “Black” and “Paa,” was cheered by his family, including wife Jaya, son Abhishek, daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai and daughter Shweta Nanda. 

Veteran Tanvi Azmi won the Best Supporting Actress award for her act in “Bajirao Mastani,” and actress Shabana Azmi and her husband, Javed Akhtar, were seen lauding their relative. In fact, they were so excited that they went on a photo clicking spree when her name was announced. 

The award for the Best Children’s Film was given to “Duronto” (Hindi), produced by Code Red Films. Master Gaurav Menon was conferred the award for Best Child Artist for the movie “Ben” (Malayalam). 

The award for the Best Music Direction (Songs) has been conferred to M. Jayachandran for “Ennu Ninte Moideen” (Malayalam), and the award for the Best Music Direction (Background Score) was given to Ilaiyaraaja for “Thaarai Thappattai” (Tamil). 

The award for Best Lyrics has been conferred to Varun Grover for the song “Moh Moh Ke Dhaage” from the film “Dum Laga Ke Haisha.”

A special jury award has been conferred to Kalki Koechlin, who exuded charm in an off-white sari with a green border, for the film “Margarita with a Straw.”

This year the National Film Awards included a special award given to the state of Gujarat for being the most film friendly state in the country, and veteran film actor and director Manoj Kumar was conferred the 47th Dadasaheb Phalke Award at the function.

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