Even though Amitabh Bachchan was unable to attend the 66th National Film Awards of India that took place in Delhi on December 23, Bollywood made its presence felt with Akshay Kumar, Ayushmann Khurrana and Vicky Kaushal walking away with top honours.
Indian Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu gave away the awards in the presence of Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar and other dignitaries. The function witnessed film luminaries being awarded for their outstanding contribution to the growth and development of Indian cinema.
Gujarati film ‘Hellaro’ won Best Feature Film. Khurrana’s ‘Badhaai Ho’ bagged the award for Best Popular Film and Kumar’s ‘Padman’ was declared Best Film on Social Issues.
Aditya Dhar won the Best Director award for ‘Uri: The Surgical Strike’.
Khurrana and Kaushal jointly won the Best Actor award for their performances in ‘Andhadhun’ and ‘Uri: The Surgical Strike’, respectively. Keerthy Suresh bagged the Best Actress trophy for her performance in Telugu movie ‘Mahanati’, and Marathi movie ‘Paani’ won the award for Best Film on Environment Conservation/Preservation.
Kannada film ‘Ondalla Eradalla’ got the Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration and Uttarakhand was declared the Most Film Friendly State.
Traditionally, the Indian National Awards are handed out to the winners by the President of India, but this time President Ram Nath Kovind was unable to attend the ceremony.
Veteran actor Bachchan was to be awarded the 50th Dadasaheb Phalke Award, Indian cinema’s biggest honour, in his 50th year in the film industry. But the actor on Sunday announced he could not attend due to health restrictions.
The award, named after Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, who is revered as the father of Indian cinema, was instituted in 1969, the year Bachchan made his debut in Hindi film industry with ‘Saat Hindustani’.