Actor RajInikanth was conferred the Dadasaheb Phalke Award at a National Film Awards ceremony by Vice-President Venkaiah M Naidu at a ceremony in Delhi. He dedicated the award to his family and associates.
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Dhanush for his lead role in Asuran and Manoj Bajpayee for Bhonsle received the Best Actor Award. Kangana Ranaut has been awarded Best Actor (Female) for her role in Manikarnika-The Queen of Jhansi (Hindi) and Panga (Hindi). Malayalam movie Marakkar Arabikkadalinte Simham received the best film award.
Speaking to the reporters after the award ceremony, Mr. Rajinikanth said, “I am extremely happy to receive this award and I am grateful to the Government for this prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke Award. I dedicate this award to my guru, my mentor K Balachander sir, I thank my brother Sathyanarayana Rao, who is a father figure in my life, for giving me great values.” He also thanked his friend, Raj Bahadur, who was his colleague from his days in the Bangalore Transport Service. “He spotted the acting talent in me and encouraged me to join cinema. I also dedicate this award to all my producers and directors, technicians, artists, distributors, media and all my fans, and more importantly the Tamil people…” the 70-year-old ‘Superstar’ stated.
Also read: Dadasaheb Phalke award for Amitabh Bachchan
Lauding Mr. Rajinikanth, a matinee idol, Mr. Naidu observed that the former was “one of the great sons of this great country”. “The iconic thespian’s unmatchable acting skills have given a new dimension to the Indian film industry… He has shown how to maintain a perfect balance between artistic expression and mass appeal.”
Rajinikanth receiving the award
Mr. Naidu noted that that a film should be a vehicle with a higher purpose, a carrier of social, moral and ethical message. “Moreover, they should refrain from highlighting violence and should voice society’s disapproval of social evils,” he pointed out.
A good movie had the power to touch hearts and minds and cinema was the cheapest entertainment in the world. Film-makers and artists should use it for the betterment of people, society and nation, he urged.
Mr. Naidu stressed the need for cinema to usher in positivity and happiness. “Experience tells us that a film with a message has lasting appeal. Apart from entertainment, cinema also has the power to provide enlightenment,” he added.
Actors Pallavi Joshi and Vijay Sethupathi were given the best supporting actress and best supporting actor awards for their performances in The Tashkent Files and Super Deluxe respectively. The Nargis Dutt Award for best feature film on national integration was received by the makers of Tajmahal (Marathi), while the best movie on social issues’ trophy went to Anandi Gopal (Marathi). The Indira Gandhi Award for best debut film of a director was given to Mathukutty Xavier for Helen (Malayalam). Naga Vishal won the best child artist trophy for KD(A) Karuppu Durai (Tamil). In the non-feature film category, 22 titles were given the National Film Award.
(With inputs from PTI)