The winners of the 67th National Film Awards were announced yesterday, and like every year, “you can’t make everyone happy.” From the significant highlights, Kangana Ranaut won for Panga & Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhansi, Manoj Bajpayee got it for Bhonsle, Priyadarshan, Mohanlal’s Marakkar & Mahesh Babu‘s Maharshi won big. So where is the problem, you might ask? Well, let’s get into it.
There have been multiple confusing queries many are asking after the announcement of winners. Let’s first answer those and then take a look at the movies, which indeed might have been on the list of the awards’ jury members but didn’t win due to various reasons.
How can Kangana Ranaut win for Manikarnika & Panga as both the films released in different years?
This is because even though both the films released with a years gap (Manikarnika: 25th January 2019, Panga: 24th January 2020) but both were provided with the censor certificate in the same year, i.e. 2019. While Manikarnika got certified by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) on 21st January 2019, Panga was given the certificate on 30th December 2019.
How does the process of National Film Awards works?
The makers have to submit their films to the board before a decided period. If we consider the above case, the last date to submit the films was 17 February 2020, and hence Zee Studios & Fox Star India were able to make them eligible to win. So, there’s totally a possibility that a certain production house hasn’t submitted a film from the list we’ve mentioned below.
Why Ajay Devgn’s Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior is not on the list?
Well, that’s a whole different article right there. Wait for it!
Now that we’re clear with specific questions and know the process let’s get into the list of movies that few of you might think should have won instead.
Despite my complaints regarding Meghna Gulzar’s execution, I felt Deepika Padukone’s portrayal of an acid attack survivor deserved to be discussed more. Was she a better option than Kangana Ranaut for that best actress award? Would things have been similar if she hadn’t paid a visit to JNU amid the protests last year? These are some burning questions that must’ve already found their way on social media (if not, here we go!).
Not a single mention anywhere? I understand there are over three dozen people choosing films from thousands of options, but Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt led Gully Boy ‘excel’led in many departments to get a shout-out in at least one of them. Reema Kagti & Zoya Akhtar’s screenplay, Vijay Maurya’s dialogues, Jay Oza’s cinematography & Nitin Baid’s editing were few departments which could’ve shone brightly.
Madhu C Narayanan’s this gem might be the most-heartbreaking snub at the ceremony. There’s this phenomenon of ‘releasing in the wrong year’, and there were a plethora of fantastic Malayalam films bagging awards. Still, my heart goes for the most wholesome movie the human race can witness. Also, snubbing Fahadh Faasil’s performance in this should be declared as a legal offence.
Laced with few beautiful performances by the entire cast, the aim of winning the best film is debatable against Chhichhore. Both contrastingly different, served the purpose of delivering entertainment in their respective styles. Even if Chhichhore had an edge as a complete package, it had some solid performances by Manoj Bajpayee, Ranvir Shorey, Ashutosh Rana & Bhumi Pednekar, aiming for the best actor in a supporting role.
Acid attack is an evil that our society has faced for years, and cinema has begun tackling now. Parvathy Thirovothu’s Uyare was a specimen of women empowerment. If not the best film, Parvathy must surely have been a consideration for the best actor. And how can we even forget Zuby Johal & Rajiv Subba’s make-up and prosthetics?
Though Sujoy Ghosh’s revenge-drama was an official adaptation of The Invisible Guest, it came with its own merits. We all are aware of the process of not rewarding remakes, but this one was special. Amitabh Bachchan & Taapsee Pannu’s subtle presence not only strengthened the acting department but also made it stand out from the original. Ghosh’s thematic connection with the epic Mahabharata was a welcome change in the story.
One cannot even say they never came across Geethu Mohandas’ Moothon. The film presented by Anurag Kashyap was well marketed and promoted. If there is a man who made the film, what it is, it was Nivin Pauly. His dedication and transformation deserved a place in the list of winners. Child artiste Sanjana Dipu, another gem who graced the drama elevating the magic, failed to get a mention. Even Roshan Mathew’s deep eyes couldn’t do the magic?
Tim Gillis & Ben Kutchins camera captured the raw soul of Mumbai’s streets. Much like Jay Oza’s attempt in Gully Boy, even this film’s de-glam approach towards the city came in with small-yet-worthy intricacies.
I don’t believe this film was even sent to the board for consideration. However, if Anubhav Sinha actually sent it, and it’s still not considered for even a single category, then there’s the problem you asked in the first paragraph of this article. Gaurav Solanki & Anubhav Sinha’s story made a powerful statement without sugarcoating any facts. This was a shocking yet necessary watch, but we’ll not be able to know if this was considered for even a single category (or if it was submitted).
Despite the film’s flaws, Vidya Balan shone like no other. This film also aligns perfectly with the pattern of giving National Awards. This could have challenged Pallavi Joshi’s portrayal of a historian in The Tashkent Files, which bagged her the award in the category of Best Supporting Actress.
Joining the number of controversial films (Chhapaak, Article 15) is another underrated gem of 2019 – Ajay Bahl’s Section 375. I can’t point out the exact category for which this should’ve won or at least deserved a special mention, but I still want to celebrate its ‘cinema beyond entertainment’ impact.
Okay, I’ve included this only and only for Vishal Jethwa. This also extends as a request to whomsoever it may concern – apart from celebrating the debut directors, let’s honour the debutant actors in it as well. If only Vishal could’ve got a special mention for his brutally honest performance in this film.
Special Mention: Aashiq Abu’s ode to healthcare workers in Virus, a smashing Manju Warrier from Asuran, Anna Ben’s heart-wrenching performance in Helen.
Writer’s Note: If you’ve made it till here, thanks. If you’ve skipped it to this portion, thanks to you too for the click. The films mentioned above are just the ones I feel deserve a place in the winners’ list of 67th National Film Awards. I don’t mean any kind of disrespect to those who have added this prestigious mention to their already significant portfolios.