Two News Items Too Big To Ignore: National Film Awards and New Shahrukh Stills!

Long time readers may have noticed that my news round-up posts have been less common lately.  I am sooooooooo busy writing up Hindi Film 101 and answering Monday questions and all my other new-ish features that I haven’t had as much time for news.  But today there were two big things that I just can’t ignore!  Both of which I learned about through twitter (I do still follow @iamsrk and @karanjohar and all the other big newsmakers of the industry)

First, as I learned from various twitter congratulations, National Film Awards are out!

Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment – Sathamanam Bhavathi
Best stunt choreography – Peter Hein (Pulimurugan)
Best Children’s Film – Dhanak (Hindi)
Best Film on social issue – Pink
Best Direction – Rajesh (Ventilator)
Best Actor – Akshay Kumar (Rustom)
Best Actress – Surabhi Lakshmi (Minnaminungu)
Best Supporting Actress – Zaira Wasim (Dangal)
Best Child Artist – Adhish Praveen (Kunju Daivam), Saj (Noor Islam), Manohara (Railway Children)
Best Male Playback Singer – Sundara Iyer (Joker)

Best Female Playback Singer – Thume jaake
Best Screenplay (original) – Syam Pushkaran (Maheshinte Prathikaram)
Best Screenplay (adapted) – Sanjay Krishnaji Patel (Dashakriya)
Best Editing – Rameshwar Ventilator
Sound designer – Jayadevan (Kaadu Pookunna Neram)
Best production design – 24
Best Costume Designer – Sachin (Marathi film)
Best Environmental film including agriculture – The Tiger who crossed the line
Best Make-up Artist – MK Ramakrishna
Best Music Direction – Babu Padmanabha (Kannada Lama)
Special Mention – Kadvi Hawa Mukthi bhava (Hindi)
Special Jury award for Mohanlal for Pulimurugan, Janatha Garage and Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol

Best feature films in regional languages

Madipur (Tulu)
Joker (Tamil)
Wrongside Raju (Gujarati)
Pelli Chupulu (Telugu)
Dashakriya (Marathi)
Bisarjan’ (Bengali)
Maheshinte Prathikaram (Malayalam)
Ke Sara Sara (Konkini)
Reservation (Kannada)
Neerja (Hindi)

I’m pretty happy with all of this, thrilled by a few things, and extremely confused by two.

Pretty happy: nice to see so much regional acknowledgement, although I would have liked a couple more Hindi films thrown in, just to make sure the government knows they are what most people watch.  But based on my limited knowledge, they all seem like fairly fair awards.  Maheshinte did have a great script, I still haven’t seen Pulimuragan but I’ve heard that the stunts were the best part.

Thrilled: Dhanak and Neerja!!!!  Two of my “best of” films from my 2016 awards (Dhanak was “most favorite” and Neerja was “best”), made it to the National List as well!  If you haven’t seen either of them yet, highly highly recommended!  And hopefully appearing on this list will encourage a few more people to watch them.  Dhanak especially, it was barely in theaters and got tepid reviews, but it is a wonderful movie and more people should watch it and ignore the reviewers.

Confused: Rustom?  Really? Akshay got best actor for that?  In my awards, it was a strong contender for “Most Middle of the Road” movie (click here to see what film actually won that).  And Akshay’s performance would be included in that “middle of the road” description.  The man didn’t even bother to change clothes!!!!!  Why in the world would he win this award?  It’s a super unobjectionable film, nice patriotic message, historic subject, and so on.  And it lets them give something to a hit film and a big star, just to make sure they get some news coverage.  But, really?  I mean, Shahrukh in Fan was clearly the performance of the year, even if you hated the film you have to acknowledge his brilliance.  And if you didn’t want to give it to Shahrukh, there’s Aamir in Dangal as well.  Amitabh in Pink, Sushant Singh in Dhoni, Ranbir in ADHM.  Not to take anything away from Akshay, who is a great actor, but all of those are to me clearly better performances that Akshay in Rustom.  And equally big name films with big name stars in the roles.  It’s just…..Rustom?  Really?

Image result for akshay rustom


Confusing in a different way, why the heck did Mohanlal get a special jury award?  I know he had a lot of movies come out this year, but doesn’t he always have a lot of movies come out?  And isn’t he always good in them?  What makes this year special?  Is he dying?  Is there an election coming up in Kerala?  I’M SO CONFUSED!!!!



Moving on from the National Awards, other big news from Twitter!  Shahrukh tweeted official production stills from his next nameless movie!  The one from Imtiaz Ali with Anushka!

Two things about this: first, on the “meta” side of things, this means actual official promotions are starting, WOOT WOOT!!!!  We’re looking at one to two more months of twitter buzz, then the first teaser, then the slow roll out of songs, then the actual trailer, and finally the film itself.  But the process has started!  I would say this means that we can be sure the July release date is set in stone now, because otherwise they wouldn’t start promotions.  Except, remember Raees?  We got through all the twitter buzz and the teaser trailer, and then the train got derailed and went nowhere for about a year.  Very frustrating.

Second: PLOT GUESSES!!!!!  We know they already filmed for a long long time in Europe.  And now we are getting stills from the Punjab.  So, I’m thinking we might have that traditional structure of first half urban/abroad, second half rural/Indian?  Just like DDLJ, Purab Aur Paschim, and about a million others.

But this is not what Imtiaz usually does!  It’s been ages since he’s had a grounded Indian setting for his films.  That was a big part of the charm of Jab We Met, that it has these modern westernized characters, who were also comfortable moving through India on trains and buses and on foot.  And a big part of what I hated about Tamasha was how India outside of fancy coffee shops and picturesque resort towns didn’t even seem to exist.  Now, with these stills and what we already knew about the plot (in Europe, Anushka and Shahrukh, Shahrukh might be a tour guide), I have hope that it will turn into a love story in which they move as a couple from Europe back to the Punjab and are equally comfortable in both places.

Or else this is all just for one fantasy song sequence and the rest of the film takes place in Europe.  Or there is some kind of flashback thing ala Love Aaj Kal.  But I hope not!

Oh, and also, Shahrukh looks really good on a tractor.


29 thoughts on “Two News Items Too Big To Ignore: National Film Awards and New Shahrukh Stills!

    • Okay, that makes more sense! I thought it was a special thing just this year, like for some reason they had to make an extra effort to recognize Mohanlal outside of the regular categories.

      On Fri, Apr 7, 2017 at 10:57 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



        • Still haven’t seen that one. I’ve got City of God coming up next Monday, but maybe I’ll watch Su Su Sudhi this weekend and review it Monday after next.

          On Fri, Apr 7, 2017 at 11:08 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  1. “July release date” isn’t the date August 11 for unnamed “Imtiaz’s next”?
    For the first time I think, at least for best actor, the national award is as nonsensical as all the others. Rustom, really? That makes it completely about Akshay’s politics and not much else. The film needs to be patriotic and that its. What about Aligarh? Too controversial? Now, as you know I am completely biased and the fact that they seem to REFUSE to give Shah Rukh one, makes me dislike them (whoever them is). He’s not going to get more patriotic than Swades…and it made me so sad that he said, “IF I haven’t received a national award, I don’t deserve one.” We know that’s not true and he does too. AND Kangana got one last year! (another bias). Okay, vent over: glad to have a forum for it!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I thought July? Oh well, you are probably right.

      For Akshay, I completely forgot that Airlift came out last year too! If you HAVE to give it to Akshay (for whatever reason), that is the performance you should honor! I still don’t think it was the best performance of 2016, but it was pretty darn good, and at least he was working in that movie, not just gliding through like in Rustom.

      On Fri, Apr 7, 2017 at 11:28 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  2. Priyadarshan was the jury head this time.he made sure his 2 best friends were awarded..Mohanlal and akshay…pulimurugan is one of the weak performance from Mohanlal.he didn’t even pass 1st round in Kerala state awards.and akshay national award is the biggest nonsense after saif Ali Khan s award


    • Okay, that makes WAY more sense!

      And my first reaction to your Saif comment was “No, a national award for Omkara seems reasonable, why would anyone object to that?” But then I looked it up, and he got it for HUM-TUM!?!?!?!?!??! That’s INSANE!!!!!!! I love Hum-Tum, but it’s not exactly great acting or great art.

      And Omkara came out the very next year! If they had just held off, they could have given him one that was actually justified just 12 months later.


      • They couldn’t have waited for the next year, because his mom would no longer have been chair of the censor board. 🙂

        Yeah, Akshay, really! is my reaction, too. Mohanlal has won the Best Actor NA in the past (more than once), so why was there any need to recognize his “body of work”? I mean, it’s already been recognized many times by many people.

        I don’t know that I buy this “second best actor gets the special jury mention” argument, because then there should have been a special jury mention for Aishwarya, who supposedly was the second best for the best actress category for Sarabjit (another WTH).

        And finally, Margaret, Hindi films are definitely not “what most people watch” in India. In fact, the mainstream Hindi films are getting a lot more awards nowadays than they ever have in the past, when the National Awards were seen as a way of encouraging the smaller films and artists who may not get much exposure or recognition otherwise.


        • I love that they recognized Dhanak, that is exactly the kind of film that I want to get National Awards, small and unnoticed, but with the awards being reported everywhere, maybe more people will see it.

          On Fri, Apr 7, 2017 at 9:04 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


          Liked by 1 person

          • Yes, Dhanak fits the profile of the kind of films they want to recognize, even though it’s by a big name (though at present down on his luck) director. But one thing troubles me. I distinctly remember that Dhanak got an award last year as Best Children’s Film. Unless that was at some film festival, it seems weird for it to get NA’s two years in a row.


          • Looks like it won “best children’s film” at a whole bunch of film festivals last year, but no National Award.

            On Sat, Apr 8, 2017 at 12:45 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



          • I wish there was an edit function in your comments! I’m always forgetting something and remembering it just after hitting “post”. My comment about Hindi films referred to the big, commercial films, which are certainly getting many more awards than they ever did in the past. And this applied to the big, commercial films of the other film industries, too. There seemed to be an underlying assumption that, due to their huge markets and profits, people already knew about the films and the actors, so it was the smaller films from any industry that were to be actively encouraged.


  3. I still don’t understand how Shatamanam Bhavati won Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment. It was such a silly movie and it wasn’t even entertaining. I happened to watch it two weeks ago and I thought it was just a mix of a bunch of other Telugu movies like Govindudu Andarivadile and Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu. I was just surprised that this movie was a hit and now this. Sure it had family values and emotions but I still don’t really understand why it was awarded.


  4. So glad that Dhanak won! As a new-ish (going on a couple of years now) SRK fan, I’m really disappointed he hasn’t won any acting awards for Fan. Really a remarkable couple of performances from him there.

    Not sure where else to post this, but I noticed something weird and thought you and the other readers here might have some insights.

    Yesterday I bought Raees on Google Play–I only got to see it once in the theaters, and I waited and waited to be able to see it again legitimately, rather than streaming it. Watched it this morning, and they have cut not one but BOTH Muharram scenes. So adult Raees’s introduction is now him riding up on the motorcycle to bribe the cop who has slashed the tires on Jai’s truck. Weak. And the scene where Raees chases the shooter over the rooftops just starts in the middle–would make no sense if one hadn’t already seen the original cut of the film.

    Do you think this was a Google choice, or the international film distributor’s? Are content providers now voluntarily censoring Muslim religious observances in movies in the US? More importantly do you think the DVD will have the full movie? I’m really mad and will ask for my money back from Google, though I won’t hold my breath…

    Thanks for your thoughts!


    • That is fascinating! I suppose there is just a chance that they are using a bad print, there is a scene missing from the version of DDLJ I bought on Amazon Prime, and it’s got nothing controversial about it, they just missed 5 minutes of film time.

      But it seems unlikely, considering it is both Muharram scenes. I could see your argument, and my guess would be the international distributor. Although it’s odd they would change it for google, and not for regular American film release. They censored Kabali in Malaysia for similar reasons, but that time they edited the theatrical version differently there than every where else in the world. Or, possibly this is the censored version for a different market and googleplay is using it for America as well. The only reason I would think that is because Muharram isn’t exactly the most identifiable Muslim tradition in America, while a South Asian viewer or a viewer from elsewhere would identify it immediately, and might have a strong reaction.

      I would say that the DVD will have the full version, but there is a slight chance it won’t. DVDs are getting so cheap in general, no special features or interviews or deleted scenes, so who knows? I do know that my local store just told me on Friday that the DVD has been delayed again, they were expecting it weeks ago. And there is a slight chance that this is why, they are debating whether to release the full version on the DVD or not.

      On Sat, Apr 8, 2017 at 4:17 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

      • I think your theory that Google got a version edited for some other market and are showing it in the U.S. makes most sense. It could have been edited for the Middle East countries, which are all Sunni Muslim and may not appreciate seeing the celebration of a Shia Muslim festival.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks, both, for your thoughts. That makes a lot of sense to me. I hope the full version is on the DVD–the movie is so much richer when rooted in a Muslim context as you pointed out in your reviews, Margaret. Incidentally GooglePlay gave me a refund right away–without comment though. 🙂


  5. Great article!!! During the last national awards, I think you said you didn’t know enough about Indian films to comment about it. Things have changed this year, I think 🙂

    Totally agree with you regarding awards for Mohanlal and Akshay Kumar. Actually Manoj Joshi, the best supporting actor, is another regular in Priyadarshan films. If Paresh Rawal had a film, even he would’ve got something.

    Maybe you could next write about nepotism in national awards 🙂

    There’s plenty of example-
    Ramesh Sippy twice gave best actor award to best friend Amitabh Bachchan
    Saif Ali Khan got the award when Sharmila Tagore was the CBFC chief
    Prakash Jha gave one to Ajay Devgn
    Ashok Kumar gave one to Amitabh Bachchan when there was a very strong competition from Thilakan (and I think he cited “past performances” as one of the criteria!)
    I’m sure you’ll find many many more if you dig deeper…


    • Thank you! I do feel slightly more on top of things this year, but it’s still not totally my area.

      All of those names you listed, I can see the connection once you put it together, but I don’t know if I am good enough to look at the jury list and the awards list and figure out what goes with what.


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