New Delhi: Salman Khan starrer Bollywood hit ‘Dabangg’ on Thursday got the National Award for wholesome entertainment. Its producers Arbaaz Khan, Malaika Arora Khan and Dhilin Mehta along with director Abhinav Kashyap will receive the Swarna Kamal and a cash prize of Rs 2 lakhs.

In a clean sweep for Southern cinema at the 58th  National Film Awards, Malayalam film 'Adaminte Makan Abu' (Abu, son of Adam), a simple yet evocative narrative of a man's pursuit of religion, was adjudged the best feature film and it's star Salim Kumar shared the best actor honour with Tamil star Dhanush.

In the Best Actor category, Dhanush, the son-in-law of megastar Rajinikanth, who starred in 'Aadukalam'-- a Tamil film that looks at the world of cock-fighting--shared the award with Salim Kumar, who usually essays the role of a comedian.

"Being mostly seen as a comedian, I approached the role very seriously with lot of preparation," a beaming Salim Kumar said on getting the good news.

The best actress award too had two winners—Tamil actress Saranya Ponvannan for 'Thenmerkku Paruvakkatru' and Marathi artiste Mitalee Jagtap Varadkar for 'Baboo Band Baaja'.

Mitalee Jagtap Varadkar, who shares the best actress award with Tamil counterpart Saranya Ponvannan, said winning the award for her comeback film after seven years 'Baboo Band Baaja' was pleasantly shocking.

'Adaminte Makan Abu' directed and produced by Salim Ahamed won the Swarna Kamal and a cash prize of Rs 2,50,000 for it's "simple yet evocative articulation of humanist values".

Bollywood pushed to background

In the National Film awards announced on Thursday, Bollywood was pushed to the background this year with the Salman Khan starrer 'Dabangg' and Naseeruddin Shah-Vidya Balan starrer 'Ishqiya' being the only two films to pick up awards in prominent categories.

Meanwhile, Rishi Kapoor-Neetu Singh starrer middle-class family drama 'Do Dooni Chaar' won the national award for best Hindi feature film. The movie was directed by Habib Faisal.

The best music direction award was shared between Vishal Bharadwaj and Issak Thomas Kottakapally for Ishqiya and Adaminte Makan Abu respectively.

161 entries for awards

Announcing the awards at a news conference, jury head filmaker J P Dutta said the best direction award went to Vetrimaran for 'Aadukalam.'

In all, 161 eligible entries were received in the feature film category, Dutta said, adding it was the highest number of entries received so far.

The Nargis Dutt Award for best feature film on national integration went to Bengali movie Moner Manush while the Indira Gandhi award for best debut film of a director went to Baboo Band Baaja (Marathi).

Dutta said Kannada movie Hejjegalu was adjudged as the best children film and the best child artist award was shared among four boys--Harsh Mayar (I am Kalam), Shantanu Ranganekar and Machindra Gadkar for their performance in Marathi movie Champions and Vivek Chabukswar (Baboo Band Baaja).

Best singer award for Rekha (Ishqiya)

The best male playback singer award went to Suresh Wadekar (Mee Sindhutai Sapkal-Marathi) and female playback singer award went to Rekha Bharadwaj (Ishqiya).

Dutta said the jury has requested I&B Minister Ambika Soni to treat all the awardees who have shared the awards in different categories as individual winners taking into account their performances.

Rajinikanth starrer 'Enthiran' won the award for best special effects and Marathi bio-pic 'Mee Sndhutai Sapkal' won the special jury award for the "powerful cinematic presentation of an epic journey of a living character", in this case social worker Sindhutai Sapkal.

The Marathi film also won the best adapted screenplay trophy while the award for best original screenplay went to 'Aadukalam'.  
In the non-feature film category, Hindi movie 'Germ' directed by Snehal R Nair was adjudged the best non-feauture while 'Pistulya', directed by Nagraj Manjule was chosen as the best debut non-feature film.  

Ramesh More's Marathi film 'Champions', which tackles social menace of child labour and the need for education of street children film won the best film highlighting social issues. It had earlier received the Special Jury Mention at Pune International Film Festival earlier this year.

Arbaaz, Rekha elated

Actor-Producer Arabaaz Khan, who is elated after his debut production 'Dabangg' won the National Award for the best popular film providing wholesome entertainment, feels that the laurels have a sense of responsibility.

"I am extremely proud and happy to receive a national award for my debut film. This is something I had never planned or expected. This award is one notch up. I am enjoying these accolades," Arbaaz said.

When asked whether so many awards add pressure for 'Dabangg 2', Arbaaz said, "I don't take it as a pressure... I believe it is a responsibility. I would do the film with the same amount of love, hard work and dedication. I hope that the audience would like the sequel."

Rekha Bhardwaj, who won the National Award for Best Female Playback Singer for 'Ishqiya', feels fortunate enough to win the award. She has sung two songs in the film - 'Badi Dheere Jali' and 'Ab Mujhe Koi'.

"I am really excited and feel fortunate... I am proud to win a National award. I rehearse classical music for two-three hours more... With this it feels classical music has proven that it is not dying away," Rekha, wife of director Vishal Bhardwaj said.

Salim Khan credits family

A joyful Salim Khan, an ace film writer, could not hide his happiness after news came on Thursday that 'Dabangg' has won the national award for best wholesome entertainment, saying credit goes to his family and everyone else behind the venture.

“The news about the honour has yet to sink in. We are thrilled by the national recognition,' Salim Khan said.

However, he admitted that the Khan family never expected the movie would bag a National Award.

JPN/Agencies