National award recipients honoured, ecstatic

New Delhi, Sep 7 (IANS) Feroz Abbas Khan, Shankar Mahadevan and Bhawna Talwar, among the recipients of the 55th National Film Awards for 2007, are feeling "ecstatic" as well as "humbled" at the recognition that they have got for their contribution to Indian cinema.

Shankar Mahadevan won the prestigious award for best playback singer for singing the song "Maa" from "Taare Zameen Par" for which Prasoon Joshi bagged the best lyricist award.

"I am feeling extremely proud. National awards are among the most prestigious awards and this is my third. I owe it to the entire team - Prasoon (Joshi), Aamir (Khan), Amol Gupte, my partners Ehsaan and Loy with whom I composed this song - it's everybody's effort," Mahadevan told IANS Monday soon after the awards were announced here.

"After years, a song on mother has been appreciated and won an award... it's really a great feeling," he added.

Director Feroz Khan was pleasantly surprised when he learnt that he got the National Award for Best Screenplay for his directorial debut "Gandhi My Father" that explored the strained relationship of Mahatma Gandhi with his eldest son Harilal.

"I was pleasantly surprised to hear about it as I was not anticipating it. I had never made a film before and I was deeply moved to hear it, as I had given a lot of conviction and my experience in dealing with actors and scripts into the film," said Khan.

For the same film Darshan Zariwala bagged the best supporting actor award for portraying Gandhi. Anil Kapoor, who produced the film, bags special jury award for the film.

Khan was hopeful to change filmmaking process in Hindi cinema with his movie.

"'Gandhi My Father' has an archival value... we should now be making films that have international standards and communicate with audiences all over the world and humanity at large," he said.

Talwar's directorial debut "Dharm" that explored religious undercurrents has won the best film for national integration award and she feels finally her directorial debut got its due.

"I am feeling extremely honoured, humble and at the same time very ecstatic especially considering that this is my debut film. This is way beyond what I had even imagined. I am deeply touched... 'Dharm' has finally got its due," said Talwar.

Kannada actress Uma Shri has been awarded the best actress for playing a Mulsim widow and midwife barred from society because of her religion in "Gulabi Talkies" and director Girish Kasaravalli says he is very happy for her.

"I am very happy for Uma Shri. She has put in a lot of hard work in the film and with the awards, all our efforts have been really paid off. There was a lot of emotional variation in her character and maintaining a balance in that was very difficult but she has done an excellent job," Kasaravalli who was also surprised in the fall of national awards for Kannada films this year.

"Kannada films have won only two awards this year but we will make up for all of it next year," he said.

Filmmaker Priyadarshan's offbeat Tamil film "Kanchivaram" won the best feature film and best actor for Prakash Raj, while renowned Malayalam director Adoor Gopalakrishnan was adjudged best director for "Naalu Pennungal".