National Film Awards: Controversies Obscure Winners + New Academy Rules

National Film Awards: Controversies obscure winners

Buddhadeb Dasgupta's Bengali-language Kaalpurush - Memories in the Mist, the story of a mild-mannered office clerk (Rahul Bose) whose faltering career is counterbalanced by his wife's sudden celebrity, received Best Feature Film honors at the 53rd edition of the National Film Awards, covering Indian films produced in 2005.

The 53rd National Film Awards became mired in controversy last year after film critic Shyamli Banerjee filed a petition at the Delhi High Court, claiming that the awards were rigged by government officials. Banerjee also stated that Sanjay Leela Bhansali's drama Black should be ineligible for any National Film Award, as it is an adaptation of The Miracle Worker – according to the rules, adaptations are automatically disqualified.

Another petition, this one filed by documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan at the Mumbai High Court, challenged the National Film Awards regulations banning from the competition films without a censor certificate.

2007 National Film Award winners

Despite Banerjee's efforts, Black remained in competition, earning Amitabh Bachchan the Best Actor National Film Award. In the film, the veteran Bachchan has the “Anne Sullivan” role (with the addition of Alzheimer's disease), played on Broadway and in Arthur Penn's 1962 drama by Best Actress Academy Award winner Anne Bancroft. Rani Mukerji has the “Helen Keller” role (Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner Patty Duke on stage and in Penn's film).

Among the other 2007 National Film Award winners were Best Actress Sarika for Parzania and Rakesh Omprakash Mehra's political coming-of-age-musical Rang De Basanti, featuring Aamir Khan, Atul Kulkarni, and Kunal Kapoor, and which was selected as the Best Popular Film.

It should be noted that the National Film Awards are filled with quirky categories, such as “Best Film on Environment Conservation” and “Best Film on Family Welfare.”

Amitabh Bachchan and Rani Mukerji Black photo: SLB Films.

The 53rd Indian National Film Award winners were announced on Aug. 7, 2007.

The 53rd Indian National Film Awards covers Indian films produced in 2005.

BEST FEATURE FILM: KAALPURUSH – MEMORIES IN THE MIST (BENGALI)

BEST FIRST FILM: PARINEETA (HINDI) by Pradeep Sarkar

BEST POPULAR FILM PROVIDING WHOLESOME ENTERTAINMENT: RANG DE BASANTI (HINDI)

BEST FEATURE FILM ON NATIONAL INTEGRATION: DAIVANAMATHIL (MALAYALAM)

BEST FILM ON FAMILY WELFARE: DHAVAMAI DHAVAMIRANTE (TAMIL)

BEST FILM ON OTHER SOCIAL ISSUES: IQBAL (HINDI)

BEST FILM ON ENVIRONMENT CONSERVATION/ PRESERVATION: THUTTURI (KANNADA)

BEST CHILDREN'S FILM: BLUE UMBRELLA (HINDI)

BEST DIRECTION: RAHUL DHOLAKIA (PARZANIA – ENGLISH)

BEST ACTOR: AMITABH BACHCHAN, BLACK

BEST ACTRESS: SARIKA, PARZANIA

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: NASEERUDDIN SHAH, IQBAL

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: URVASHI, ACHHUVINTE AMMA F

BEST CHILD ARTIST: SAI KUMAR, BOMMALATA – A BELLYFUL OF DREAMS

BEST MALE PLAYBACK SINGER: NARESH IYER, RANG DE BASANTI

BEST FEMALE PLAYBACK SINGER: SHREYA GHOSHAL, PAHELI

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: MADHU AMBAT, SRINGARAM

BEST SCREENPLAY: APAHARAN (HINDI) – PRAKASH JHA, SHRIDHAR RAGHAVAN & MANOJ TYAGI

BEST SOUND RECORDING: RANG DE BASANTI (HINDI)

BEST EDITING: RANG DE BASANTI (HINDI) – P S BHARATHI

BEST ART DIRECTION: TAJ MAHAL – AN ETERNAL LOVE STORY – C B MORE

BEST COSTUME DESIGNER: ANNA SINGH (FOR TAJ MAHAL- AN ETERNAL LOVE STORY ) &
SABYACHI MUKHERJEE (FOR BLACK)

BEST MUSIC DIRECTION: LALGUDI JAYARAMAN FOR SRINGARAM (TAMIL)

BEST LYRICS: BARGURU RAMCHANDRAPPA for “BARUTHE VE NAV BARUTHE VE” FROM THAAYI

SPECIAL JURY AWARD: ACTOR ANUPAM KHER for MAINE GANDHI KO NAHIN MARA

BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS: ANNIYAN

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY: SAROJ KHAN, SRINGARAM I

BEST FEATURE FILM IN ASSAMESE: KADAM TOLE KRISHNA NACHE

BEST FEATURE FILM IN BENGALI: HARBART

BEST FEATURE FILM IN HINDI: BLACK

BEST FEATURE FILM IN KANNADA: THAAYI

BEST FEATURE FILM IN MALAYALAM: THANMATRA

BEST FEATURE FILM IN MARATHI: DOMBIVALI FAST

BEST FEATURE FILM IN ORIYA: KATHANTARA

BEST FEATURE FILM IN PUNJABI: BAGHI

BEST FEATURE FILM IN TAMIL: AADUM KOTHU

BEST FEATURE FILM IN TELUGU: BOMMALATA – A BELLYFUL OF DREAMS

BEST FEATURE FILM IN ENGLISH: 15 PARK AVENUE

BEST FEATURE FILM IN BHOJPURI: KAB HOI GAWNA HAMAR

BEST FEATURE FILM IN MONPA: SONAM

 

AWARDS IN NON-FEATURE CATEGORIES

BEST NON-FEATURE FILM: RIDING SOLO TO THE TOP OF THE WORLD (English)

BEST FIRST NON-FEATURE FILM: JOHN & JANE (English)

BEST ANTHROPOLOGICAL/ETHNOGRAPHIC FILM: SPIRIT OF THE GRACEFUL LINEAGE (English)

BEST BIOGRAPHICAL/HISTORICAL RECONSTRUCTION/COMPILATION FILM: HANS AKELA-KUMAR GHANDHARVA (Hindi)

BEST ARTS/CULTURAL FILM: NAINA JOGIN (Hindi & Maithili)

BEST SCIENTIFIC FILM /ENVIRONMENT CONSERVATION/PRESERVATION FILM: UNDER THIS SUN (Bengali)

BEST AGRICULTURE FILM: SEED KEEPERS (Telugu/English)

BEST FILM ON SOCIAL ISSUES: WAY TO DUSTY DEATH (Hindi/English)

BEST INVESTIGAVE FILM: THE WHISTLE BLOWERS (ENGLISH)

BEST ANIMATION FILM: KACHUA AUR KHARGOSH (Hindi)

SPECIAL JURY AWARD: FINAL SOLUTION (Hindi/Gujarati/English)

BEST SHORT FICTION FILM: THACKKAYIN MEEDHA NAANGU KANGAL (Tamil)

BEST DIRECTION: Ganesh Shankar Gaikwad for VOICES ACROSS THE OCEAN (English/Hindi)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Paramvir Singh for PARSIWADA, TARAPORE PRESENT DAY (English / Gujarati)

BEST SOUND RECORDING: Anmol Bhave for CLOSER

BEST EDITING: Vibuti Nathjha for NAINA JOGIN (Hindi/Maithili)

BEST NARRATION /VOICE OVER: Ajay Raina for WAPSI (English/Hindi/Urdu/Punjabi/ Kashimiri)

SPECIAL MENTIONs: Vibhu Puri for POCKET WATCH and Bidyut Kotokyfor BHRAIMOMAN THEATRE

Academy Awards Marketing Campaign Regulations Issued

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that marketing campaign regulations for the 2008 Academy Awards have been approved by its Board of Governors.

According to the Academy's press release, “this year's Regulations strongly encourage companies to reduce the volume of surface mail by consolidating multiple mailings into a single one whenever possible or by using email instead.”

The Regulations also state that companies should, “whenever possible,” allow members to opt out of receiving any mailings. Needless to say, the loophole “whenever possible” all but invalidates that “regulation.”

Additionally, the Regulations allow companies to place downloadable versions of screenplays on a Web site. Eligible music, however, “may no longer be sent to any members at any time. This prohibition includes recordings, sheet music and music videos.”

Oscar campaign regulations: 'To ensure fairness in the Awards competition'

And in case you didn't know:

“Campaign Regulations are issued by the Academy each year to ensure fairness in the Awards competition and to remind all involved that the Academy's decisions are based solely on the merits of the eligible films and achievements. Violations of the Regulations are subject to penalty, though in recent years the level of compliance has been very high.”

Apparently there are people – even at the Academy itself – who actually believe that Oscars nominees and winners are selected “solely on the merits of the eligible films and achievements.” And not, for instance, on millionaire and/or savvy marketing campaigns – Regulations or no Regulations.

For more details on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Regulations, visit: http://www.oscars.org/regulations.

Oscar 2008

Early favorites for the 2008 Oscars include Marion Cotillard for the French-made Edith Piaf biopic La Vie en Rose, Joel and Ethan Coen's violent thriller No Country for Old Men, and Julie Christie for the Canadian drama Away from Her.

The 80th Academy Award nominations will be announced on Jan. 22. In the United States, the 80th Academy Awards presentation will be telecast live by ABC on Sunday, Feb. 24.

Singing Marion Cotillard in La Vie en Rose photo: Picturehouse.

Viggo Mortensen Shirtless and Tattooed: London Film Festival Opening Gala

David Cronenberg' London-set thriller Eastern Promises will open this year's Times BFI 51st London Film Festival on Wednesday, Oct. 17. (A far cry from The Lord of the Rings' Aragorn: Viggo Mortensen shirtless, tattooed, and deadly in Eastern Promises image.)

Written by Steven Knight (Oscar nominated for the Stephen Frears-directed thriller Dirty Pretty Things), Eastern Promises reunites David Cronenberg with his A History of Violence leading man, Viggo Mortensen, playing a ruthless member of one of London's Russian mafia families. Ugly dirty things happen after his encounter with a midwife (Naomi Watts) who has accidentally uncovered a prostitution ring.

Also in the Eastern Promises cast are Vincent Cassel, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Sinéad Cusack, and Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski (whose quirky, dark Deep End is one of the best films of the 1970s).

'Eastern Promises': David Cronenberg's first film shot entirely outside Canada

“I'm thrilled to be returning to the scene of the crime,” David Cronenberg is quoted as saying in the Times of London. “Eastern Promises is the first film I've ever shot entirely away from my home in Canada, and it makes perfect sense that it is set in London, home of so many of my most potent film influences.”

Cronenberg began directing films in the mid-'60s, but he became an international name only in the early '80s, following the release of bizarre psychological horror thrillers such as The Brood (1979), starring Samantha Eggar and Oliver Reed; the head-exploding Scanners (1981), with Jennifer O'Neill and Stephen Lack; and Videodrome (1982), with James Woods.

Focus Features will release Eastern Promises in the U.S. on Sept. 14, while Pathé will release the film in the UK on October 26.

The full schedule of the 2007 London Film Festival will be announced on Sept. 13.

Shirtless and tattooed Viggo Mortensen in Eastern Promises photo: Focus Features.

 

Times BFI 51st London Film Festival website.

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