NEW DELHI/HYDERABAD:For superstar Amitabh Bachchan (Piku) it was his fourth national award for best actor (Piku), and for Kangana Ranaut (Tanu Weds Manu Returns) the second consecutive one. But the National Film Awards announced on Monday made the day for the Telugu film industry, which won its first-ever best film award for its Rs.250 crore SFX extravaganza Baahubali.
Although it was technically a multilingual film, Tollywood went wild in its celebration of the victory, its first since the awards were instituted in 1953.
The film, directed by S S Rajamouli and fronted by Prabhas, Rana Daggubati and Tamanna, was billed as the most expensive film made in India and proved to be a crossover hit in several languages on the strength of graphics and special effects unseen even in Bollywood.
Twitter bristled with congratulations for Rajamouli’s crew moments after an 11-member jury headed by Ramesh Sippy announced that his magnum opus was the Best Feature Film of 2015, beating back the much-acclaimed Masaan by debutant director Neeraj Ghaywan. Baahubali lead star Prabhas said, “Playing the role was one of the most special things of my career. I’m very thankful to Rajamouli Sir for having faith in me.”
Rana Daggubati, who played the antagonist in the drama, said making Baahubali, claimed to be the most expensive Indian movie, was a huge risk that paid off.
“I am thrilled. We took a risk and attempted something different with ‘Baahubali’. The box office results shows the love of cine-goers for our film. Now with this award we feel honoured. We are thankful to the jury,” Daggubati said.
Another costume drama, the historical romance Bajirao Mastani starring Ranveer ingh, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra, helped director Sanjay Leela Bhansali win the Best Director award. “This is my first national award as a director, and it is really very special to me. My mother always prayed that I should get one and here I get it. Her prayers are answered,” Bhansali said.
Bachchan, 73, returns to the Best Actor podium for his role of a hypochondriac father in Piku, having won previously for Agneepath, Black and Paa. And for Kangana Ranaut, her second Best Actress award came a week after she turned 29.
“It is the best birthday gift I could have got. I feel blessed especially since Mr Bachchan is the best actor with me,” she said in a statement.
Among other major honours, the cross-border drama Bajrangi Bhaijaan starring Salman Khan was named Best Popular Film providing wholesome entertainment. The Best Adapted Screenplay honour went to Vishal Bhardwaj for his Talvar, while the Best Original Screenplay award was shared by Juhi Chaturvedi (Piku) and Himanshu Sharma (Tanu Weds Manu Returns). Baahubali also scored the Best Special Effects award, and audio maestro Resul Pookutty opined that it ought to have been nominated for best audiography as well.