Two films made in regional languages – Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni’s Deool and Suveeran’s Byari – will share the best feature film honours at the 59th edition of India’s National Film Awards.  

Deool, a Marathi-language film about a group of villagers hoping to profit from a divine vision, also won best actor for Girish Kulkarni’s performance. Byari, one of the first films made in the Beary language of the state of Karnataka, is about the mistreatment of girls in a small Muslim community.

Best director has been awarded to Gurvinder Singh for Punjabi-language Alms Of The Blind Horse (Anhey Ghore da Daan), produced by the National Film Development Corp (NFDC), which premiered at Venice last year. Singh will attend next month’s Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) with his next project.

Hindi films also triumphed in the National Awards – Vidya Balan won best actress for her role in ALT Entertainment’s The Dirty Picture, about the life of actress Silk Smitha. The film also shared best costume designer for Niharika Khan’s work.

Onir’s I Am won the award for best Hindi film and best lyrics for the song Agar Zindagi by Amitabh Bhattacharya. The four-part film dealing with issues such as homosexuality and Kashmir politics, was partly financed by crowd-funding.

Although the award winners were announced on March 7, the awards ceremony will not be held until May 3.


Best feature film (shared): Deool (Marathi) and Byari (Kannada-Beary)

Best director: Gurvinder Singh – Anhey Ghore Da Daan (Punjabi)

Best Hindi film: I Am – directed by Onir

Best actor: Girish Kulkarni – Deool (Marathi)

Best actress: Vidya Balan – The Dirty Picture (Hindi)

Best child actor (shared): Partho Gupte in Stanley Ka Dabba and the ensemble cast of Chillar Party

Best lyrics: Amitabh Bhattacharya – I Am

Best costume (shared): Neeta Lulla for Bal Gandharva and Niharika Khan for The Dirty Picture

Best choreography: Bosco and Ceaser – Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

Best special effects: RA.One

Special jury award: Anjan Dutta

Best Bengali film: Ranjana Ami Aar Ashbo Na – directed by Anjan Dutta

Best Malayalam film: Indian Rupee

Best Marathi film: Shaala

Indira Gandhi award for debut film director: Thiagarajan Kumararaja – Aaranya Kaandam

Best editing: Praveen KL – Aaranya Kaandam

Best screenplay: Vikas Behl and Nitish Tiwari – Chillar Party

Best adapted screenplay: Avinash Deshpande

Best dialogue: Girish Kulkarni

Best female playback singer: Rupa Ganguly

Best male playback singer: Anand Bhate

Best children’s film: Chillar Party