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Kamal Hasan, Tabu, Gulzar bag national film awards

Kamal Hasan in Indian The Bengali feature film Lal Darja by Buddhadeb Das Gupta won the award for the best film while Kamal Hasan and Tabu got the best actor and actress awards in the 44th national films awards announced in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Kamal Hasan got the award for his double-role in the Tamil film, Indian while Tabu bagged one for her role in the Hindi film Maachis.

Maachis, by Gulzar, also got the award for the best popular film providing wholesome entertainment while the Assamese film, Rag Birag by Bidyut Chakraborty got the Indira Gandhi award for best first film of a director.

Rag Birag which was the opening feature of the Indian panorama at the last International Film Festival of India in Thiruvananthapuram, also bagged the award for best cinematography (Mrinal Kanti Das) and editing (A Sreekar Prasad).

Mrinal Kanti Das also got an award for his cinematography in the Assamese film Adajya as well, while Indian got awards for art direction (Thotta Tharani) and special effects (Venki).

Tabu in Maachis The short film, Sham's Vision by the Shahji N Karun was adjudged the best non-feature film while The Eve of the Serpent by S Theodore Bhaskaran on Tamil cinema was given the award for the best book on cinema. English film critic .M.K. Raghavendra Rao got the best film critic of 1996 award.

In the awards announced by T Subbarami Reddy, chairman of the feature film jury, Ahathian got the best director and screenplay awards for the Tamil film, Kaathal Kottai.

The Nargis Dutt award for national integration was awarded to the Malayalam film Kanakkinavu by Simi Malayil, while the Bengali Damu by Raja Sen bagged the best children's film award.

Another Bengali film, Latthi by Prabhat Roy got the award for the best film on family welfare while Hindi film Tamanna, directed by Mahesh Bhatt and produced by Pooja Bhatt got the award for the best film on other social issues.

Nana Patekar and the young Rajeshwari Sachdev got awards for the best supporting roles in the Hindi Agnisakshi and the Urdu Sardari Begum respectively.

Sardari Begum, directed by Shyam Benegal, also got the best Urdu film award. Kiron Kher, who played the lead in the film, shared the special jury award with Amol Palekar, maker of Daayra.

The awards for the best child actor and actress went to Master Kumar for his role in the Malayalam Desadanam and Kumari Kavya for the Telugu film Little Soldiers. Desadanam, directed by Jayaraj, also bagged awards for the best audiography (Krishnanunni) and best Malayalam film.

The Tamil Minsara Kanavu got awards for best music (A R Rahman), male singer (S P Balasubramaniyam), female singer (Chithra) and choreographer (Prabhu Deva).

M Dandapani gets an award for costume design in the Malayalam Kulam and Javed Akhtar got the award for the best lyrics in the film Saaz.

While a total of 77 entries were received in fourteen languages, no film got an award for highlighting environmental issues. No awards were given in as many as eight categories, primarily because of low quality.

The short film Sham's Vision also got an award for cinematographer Hari Nair. The story, about an Agra-based embroidery artist Shamsuddin, who has gone partially blind, was also part of the Indian panorama and was shown at the last IFFI in Thirvuananthapuram.

These are some of the other award-winners for regional films: Assamese -- Adajya by Santwana Bardolio; Bengali -- Sanghat by Pinaki Chaudhuri; Hindi -- Gudia by Goutam Ghose; Kannada -- America America by Nagathihalli Chandrashekar; Marathi -- Rao Saheb (Sanjay Surkar); Oriya -- Shunya Swaroopa (Himanshu Sekhar Khatua); Tamil -- Kaathal Kottai (Ahathian) and Telugu -- Ninne Pelladatha (Krishna Vamsi). There is a special mention for Dolon Roy in Sanghat and Bhagirathie in Adajya.

The award for the first non-feature film of a director went to the Hindi Yeh Woh Sahar to Nahin by Sudhakar Rao of the Film and Television Institute of India.

Four of the awarded non-feature films were in the Indian panorama. Apart from Sham's Vision, Hastir Kanya by Prabin Hazarika and Dhatujharwon a special jury award for Nilotpal Majumdar.

The English film Nauka Caritramu by Saroj Satyanarayan won two awards - for best arts/cultural film and the best editing (to A Sreekar Prasad).

The other award winners are: Silent Screams: A Village Chronicle in English by O K Johnny (for social issues): Films Division's Bhiwandi Tragedy by V Packiri Swamy (investigative), and the best animation film, The Lost Horizon (director and animator Arun Gongade).

Bhit by Gul Bahar Singh for Films Division got the family welfare award while Nihar R Samal won the best audiographer award for the film Tat Tvam Asi. Two films shared the best short fiction award -- Vidiyalai Nokki in Tamil by P Venkatesh and the Malayalam Atmeeyan by Nandkumar Kavil. While the Tamil film is from the Chennai Film and TV Institute, the Malayalam film is from the FTII, Pune.

The other members of the feature film jury were Basu Chatterji, Charu Hasan, Madhyu, Mike Pandey, Nirad Mahapatra, Raghav Menon, Jwngdao Bodosa. M S Sathyu, G Venkateshwaran, D Rama Naidu, Swapan Kumar Ghosh, Vijava Mullay, Sushma Shiromanee and Swaraj Lamba.

Other members of the non-feature jury were Swapan Sundari, Meera Dwan, Sukumaran Nair, and Punathil Kunhabdulla. The book jury had Pritiman Sarkar and V K Madhavan Kutty, besides the chairman. Veteran film-maker N S Thapa and film critic Khalid Mohammed chaired the non-feature and book juries respectively.

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