MUMBAI: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu
on Monday conferred the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award on Tamil superstar
Rajinikanth and honoured a galaxy of personalities related to cinema, including
Dhanush, Priyadarshan, Resul Pookutty, Manoj Bajpayee and Kangana Ranaut, with
National Film Awards. The 67th National Film awards for 2019 were announced in
March this year, and were delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Addressing the function finally
held in a physical format after a two-year delay, Naidu said he was happy that
regional films had dominated the list of award winners.
He also urged filmmakers and
actors to use cinema to generate “positivity and happiness”.
“Films should be vehicles with a higher purpose… We should focus on
creating cinema which is entertaining, gives us solace, some message, reduces
our tension and makes us think positively. Don’t be obstructive, be
constructive,” he said, asking film makers to shun violence, vulgarity and
Union information and
broadcasting minister Anurag Thakur, on the other hand, praised the Indian film
industry’s continuous efforts to keep the people entertained amid the pandemic.
“If vaccines can be made available to the rich and poor, entertainment too
should reach the rich and poor equally,” he said.
He also emphasised last-mile connectivity of entertainment products for the
masses in far flung areas and said the film fraternity should consider
“simpler” methods of reaching audiences for whom high-end theatres
and multiplexes are beyond reach.
In his acceptance speech, Rajinikanth thanked his mentor, late filmmaker K
Balachander, his brother Sathyanarayana Rao, and his “friend, driver and
transport colleague Raj Bahadur”, who spotted his acting talent when he
was a bus conductor.
Actors Pallavi Joshi and Vijay Sethupathi were given the best supporting
actress and best supporting actor awards for their performances in films ‘The
Tashkent Files’ and ‘Super Deluxe’, respectively.