"Barfi' movie poster
"Barfi' movie posterReuters

The National Film Awards 2013 announced on Monday saw winners varying from the artistically finesse to the commercially viable.

While "Paan Singh Tomar" won the Best Feature Film and Irrfan Khan was honoured with Best actor, the Bollywood flavour seemed to ride high at this year's Awards along with regional films on its side.    

It was a win-win for "Vicky Donor" with three major awards including Best Popular Film and Best Supporting Actor and Actress to Anu Kapoor and Dolly Ahluwalia.

Producer John Abraham told IANS, "I am very happy that Vicky Donor has managed to win so much recognition at the National Awards. I credit my entire team for the film's success. We won it for wholesome entertainment, and it couldn't get better. To be recognised nationally is a great feeling."

Meanwhile, an ecstatic Shoojit Sircar broke down into what he called a 'sperm dance' while telling IBNLive, "I'm really happy the jury recognized a film on the taboo subject of sperm donation and infertility and thought it was wholesome entertainment."

While it was hits for some, it was misses for many.

Bollywood's leading lady Priyanka Chopra expressed her dismay at "Barfi!" missing out on the National Film Awards despite the film being felicitated in almost every film awards ceremony.

But, "Barfi!" which had beaten "Paan Singh Tomar" as India's official Oscars entry failed to impress the Oscar jury.

Priyanka told PTI, "I am feeling bad that 'Barfi' did not win a National Award. But then it is up to the jury why they did not give the award".

But it was a delight for cousin, Parineeti Chopra, who received a Special Jury Mention for her role in "Ishaqzaade".

"I never thought I would win for Ishaqzaade but when I did, it was the biggest one in the country!! That too for my first lead role! I just cannot believe it," the actress told Press Trust of India.

Despite the significant Bollywood presence in the Feature Films category, there were numerous regional film winners. And largely so in the Non- Feature Films section.

Thirteen awards were grabbed by Malayalalm films alone, including Best Popular Film "Ustad Hotel" with "Vicky Donor", Best Debut Film of a Director - "101 Chodiyangal" and actress Kalpana receiving Best Supporting Actress, among others.

Marathi Film "Kaatal" had a hattrick of sorts with Best Cinematography, Best Direction (Vikrant Pawar) and Best Short Fiction awards. Vikram Gokhale won Best Actor for "Anumati" and Usha Jadhav in "Dhag".

"Shepherds of Paradise" in Gojri and Urdu was lauded with several awards including the Best Film.

But the National Film Awards faced criticism again by intellectual heavyweights for its ignorance towards rightful regional films over non-deserving ones.

Prominent Bengali actor Prosenjit Chatterjee expressed dissatisfaction over important Bengali films being overlooked by the jury, reported The Times of India.

"Some of the regional film industries churn out same if not more films each year as Bollywood, and some are of real high quality...It is time to give regional cinema its long-pending due. We need people in the jury who will understand the sensibilities of different regions," he said.

Director Kamal of Malayalam biopic "Celluloid" expressed similar opinion, "What can I say? I think probably they didn't understand the film, since it is rooted in the history of Malayalam cinema. I think the jury needs to have one representative from each of the state." The film had bagged top honours in Kerala State Awards.

"National Award choices have always been strange. Winning a national award is surely a matter of honour, but I really never understood selection criteria," said Aneek Dutta of the critically and commercially successful "Bhoote Bhabishyat" which received no appreciation from the National Film Awards jury.

However, with the likes of Rituparno Ghosh (Chitragandha) and Nawazuddin Siddiqui (Kahani, Talash, Gangs of Wasseypur, Great Indian Circus) receiving Special Jury Award, it goes without saying that panel's decision of crediting the new wave cinema cannot be ignored.

The most prominent case in point being honour for Tigmanshu Dhulia's "Paan Singh Tomar" and Telegu film "Eega".

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