Suresh Kumar, Maneka and Keerthy Suresh, often referred to as Kerala’s complete film family, were in celebration mood after Keerthy Suresh bagged the best actress national award for her role in the bilingual film ‘Mahanati’.
Speaking to IANS, Keerthy’s father Suresh Kumar, one of Malayalam film industry’s top notch producers, said, “It’s something that we will cherish for a long time”.
“To be honest, we would have been disappointed, had she not won this award, as it was such a beautiful performance by her. We were sure that she had done a great job as an actress and hence we did expect this would come,” he said.
Incidentally, Kumar’s wife Maneka was a hugely popular actress in the 1980s and acted in over 100 films before ending her career after marrying Kumar.
“She (Maneka) missed the national award by a whisker for her performance in the Malayalam film ‘Oppol’, when actor Balan K. Nair won the best actor award for his role in the same film. So our wait has finally ended with Keerthy winning it and hence it’s double joy for all of us,” said Kumar.
Starting off as a child artiste, Keerthy made it big with her debut lead role in director Priyadarshana’s film ‘Geethanjali’ in 2013. She has not looked back since then, acting not just in Malayali cinemas, but also in other South Indian films as well.
The Surgical Strike bagged two major categories as the 66th National Film awards were announced on Friday. The military movie won its director, Aditya Dhar, and lead actor, Vicky Kaushal, the awards in their respective category, though Kaushal shared the honours with Ayushmann Khuranna (Andhadhun). Keerthy Suresh won the best actress for Mahanati, the Telugu movie on actress Savitri.
A selected list of winners:
Best Feature Film: Hellaro (Gujarati), directed by Abhishek Shah
Best Action Direction: KGF Chapter I
Best Choreography: Padmaavat for Goomar
Best Popular Film: Badhaai Ho
Best film on Social Issues: Padman
Best Child artist: P V Rohith (Kannada), Sameep Singh (Punjabi), Talha Arshad Reshi (Urdu) and Shrinivas Pokale (Marathi)
Best Children’s Film: Sarkari Area Prathamika Shaale Kasaragod
Best Tamil Film: Baaram
Best Marathi Film: Bhonga
Best Hindi Film: Andhadhun
Best Telugu Film: Mahanati
Besides the medal, award winners also get cash prize of varying amounts — Rs 50,000 for best actor/actress to Rs. 2,50,000 for best feature film.
FYI: Last year’s National Award was controversial after more than 50 award winners did not turn up for the presentation ceremony as President Ram Nath Kovind gave away just 11 of the 137 awards.