New Delhi: With Bollywood's major titles dominating this year's National awards, winners Kangana Ranaut, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and "Baahubali" producers said the honour came as a huge recognition and encouragement.
Ranaut, who turned 29 last week, said her best actress win for "Tanu Weds Manu Returns", is a great birthday present. "It is the best birthday gift I could have got. I am thrilled and feel blessed especially since Mr Bachchan is the best actor with me," Ranaut said in a statement.
Bhansali dedicated his honour for "Bajirao Mastani" to his mother, saying she always wanted him to win a National award. "This is my first national award as a director it is really very special to me. My mother always prayed that I should get one and here I get it. Her prayers are answered," Bhansali told PTI.
"Baahubali", a multilingual drama, was declared the best feature film by an 11-member jury, headed by Ramesh Sippy. Its actors Prabhas and Rana Daggubati and producer Shobu Yarlagadda, said the National award win reconfirmed their faith in the film.
"It is overwhelming that 'Baahubali' has been recognised as the best film at the National Awards. Playing the role of Baahubali was one of the most special things of my career. I'm very thankful to Rajamouli sir to have the faith in me to play such an important part of the film," Prabhas said.
Daggubati, who played the antagonist in the drama, said making "Baahubali", claimed to be the most expensive Indian movie, was a huge risk that paid off.
"I am thrilled. We took a risk and attempted something different with 'Baahubali'. The box office results showed the love of audience for our film. Now with this award we feel honored. We are thankful to the jury," Daggubati said.
"It's an acknowledgment of the entire teams hard work and commitment over last few years. We are also delighted to have won the National Award for Best VFX!," producer Yarlagadda said.
Salman Khan-produced and starrer "Bajrangi Bhaijaan" was named the best popular film providing wholesome entertainment. Director Kabir Khan said, "We are really happy that 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' got the National Award for Best Popular Film."
"Salman Khan Films is delighted to win the national award and get this recognition from the Government of India for our film, 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan'. This is our first film under the banner, and its a huge encouragement for us and for the vision that we have for SKF," said Amar Butala, co-producer/ COO, Salman Khan Films.
Neeraj Ghaywan, who won best debut director, said he is humbled to receive this honour as it was unexpected.
"We wanted to make an honest film and never thought it would win so many awards and get such recognition. I am filled with gratitude but more than that it is important for me to guard my humility."
Actress Kareena Kapoor Khan, who played Salman's love interest in the cross-border drama, said, "'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' is the greatest film of our times. It spoke a lot about humanity, love, support and integrity. So, I am really proud of the film. Of course great going for Kabir Khan and Salman who actually believed in the script and made this film happen."
Director-producer Vishal Bhardwaj, who won the best adapted screenplay award this year for crime drama "Talvar", said, it will give him a boost. "This is my seventh award. I am very happy this time as it's a for a film like 'Talvar', whose story needed to be told. This is my second film alone as a writer so it gives me confidence, a boost to write.
"Initially, when my producer told me about the award I couldn't believe it. I wanted to hear and see it myself. The congratulatory messages made me feel it's true. In the evening I will party with my team," Bhardwaj told PTI.
Director Shoojit Sircar said he was "ecstatic" to see his film "Piku" win two awards -- best actor for Bachchan and best original screenplay and dialogue to Juhi Chaturvedi, who shared it with Himanshu Sharma of "Tanu Weds Manu Returns'".
"I am elated and thankful. For me, the biggest victory was when women used to say they relate to Deepika Padukone and Mr Amitabh Bachchan's part in the film. The National award is a huge thing as it's my first. The feeling is yet to sink in. Once I reach home I will pinch myself and scream. It's a moment of celebration," Juhi told PTI.
With his production venture "Visaranai" bagging three National Awards including best Tamil film, Tamil film star Dhanush today said the joy was "triple."
"Three awards for 'Visaranai' mean triple the joy and I am duty bound to thank (the film's) director Vetrimaran," he said in a statement.