The 67th National Film Awards announced its winners today. Best Feature went to Priyadarshan's Malayalam period epic Marakkar: Lion of the Arabian Sea. Though the Mohanlal-starrer has been certified, it has not found its way to theatres yet. It's slated for release later this year.
The awards, honouring the best in 2019 film, were supposed to have been held last year, but were postponed. They were announced this afternoon, in a press conference at the National Media Centre in Delhi. There were 461 films in the feature category and 220 films in the shorts category.
Several of the big awards went to artists perceived as close to the ruling BJP government. Kangana Ranaut won Best Actress for her performances in Panga and Manikarnika. Vivek Agnihotri and Pallavi Joshi won Best Dialogue and Best Supporting Actress for The Tashkent Files. Best Hindi Film went to Chhichhore, starring the late Sushant Singh Rajput, around whose death a campaign "for justice" was conducted by right-leaning Twitter users last year.
Other awards, though, went to more deserving films. Vetrimaaran's Asuran won for Best Tamil Film; its star, Dhanush, shared Best Actor with Manoj Bajpayee (Bhonsle). Best Cinematography deservedly went to Girish Gangadharan for Lijo Jose Pellissery's Malayalam film Jallikkattu, which was India's official entry for the Oscars. And Pradip Kurbah's charming Iewduh won for Best Khasi Film and Best Audiography.
Other notable wins included Best Music Direction and Best Original Screenplay for Jyeshthoputro, and Best Adapted Screenplay for Gumnaami. Viswasam won for Best Songs. Best Supporting Actor went to Vijay Sethupathi for the critically acclaimed Tamil film Super Deluxe.