Big B receives best actor honour, Benegal Dada Saheb Phalke Award

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New Delhi, Sep 14 (UNI) Receiving an standing ovation, Super star Amitabh Bachchan bagged the Best Actor honour and renowned director Shyam Benegal was given the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke Award by President Pratibha Devi Singh Patil at the 53rd National Film Awards ceremony here this evening.

The two doyens of the Indian Cinema received the honours as a galaxy of stars and artistes from the tinsel world and other distinguished guests from different walks of life and their fans gave them a big hand.

''It is a great honour for me, and I feel extremely proud to receive it at the hands of the President of my country,'' said Amitabh, who was accompanied by son Abhishek Bachchan, daughter Shweta Nanda and wife Jaya Bhaduri.

Referring to the absence of his daugher-in-law Aishwarya Rai, who is in Boston, he said he would have been happier if the whole family was present at the ceremony.

Benegal said by getting the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke Award he had been raised to a status enjoyed by the great artistes of the India cinema.

''It is an honour which I find hard to believe that I have been given. I accept it in all humility,''he said.

Film actress Sarika recieved the best actress award.

The President on this occasion congratulated Bachchan and other artistes and called upon them to maintain the artistic excellence and social relevance of the Indian cinema.

''Cinema does not exist in isolation. It is impacted by society and, in turn, impacts it. India cinema can play a great role in strengthening the values of secularsim and democracy, fighting social evils and raising the status of women,'' she said.

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi on this occasion announced that the cash component of the National Film Awards would be raised from next year and more categories would be included.

''This is being done on the suggestion of the President of India, as she feels that the amount was not adequate,'' he said.

Veteran actor Anupam kher got the special jury award, which was received by his wife Kiron Kher.

The award for the best feature film 'Kaalpurush '(Bengali), was received by its director Budhadeb Dasgupta and producer Jugal Sugandh.

The Award carries a Swarna Kamal and Rs 50,000 each for Producer and Director of the film. Best Popular Film providing wholesome entertainment is 'Rang De Basanti' (Hindi), directed by Rakesh Omprakash Mehra.

Veteran Actor Naseeruddin Shah got the best supporting actor award for his role in film 'Iqbal', but he could not perosnally come to receive it. The best supporting actress honour went to Urvashi for her role in a Malyalam film.

The award for the Best Direction went to Rahul Dholakia for the film 'Parzania'.

Sai Kumar received the Award for the Best Child Artist for his performance in Telugu film "Bommalata - A Bellyful of Dreams".

The Award for the best male playback singer was given to Naresh Iyer in 'Rang De Basanti' and the best female playback singer award was received by Shreya Ghoshal for her song in Paheli.

The Award for Best Popular Film providing wholesome entertainment, given to 'Rang De Basanti' (Hindi), was received by its director Rakesh Omprakash Mehra.

Director of "Riding Solo To The Top Of The World" (English) Gaurav A Jani received the award for the Best Non-Feature Film.

Best Film Critic Award was given to Baradwaj Rangan.

Nargis Dutt Award for the Best Feature Film on National Integration--'Daivanamathil' (Malayalam) was given to its directer Jayaraj.

Indira Gandhi Award for the Best First Film of a Director was received by Vidhu Vinod Chopra for his film 'Parineeta' (Hindi).

Nagesh Kukunoor receievd the award for the best film on social issues 'Iqbal' (Hindi).

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