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Cinema an effective tool for nation building, says Murmu

Cinema is an effective tool for nation building and expanding India’s soft power globally, President Droupadi Murmu said Friday at the 68th National Film Awards ceremony in New Delhi.

“Films have the widest impact among all the art forms,” President Murmu said. “Filmmaking is not just an industry but also a medium for artistic expression of our value system; cinema is an effective tool for nation building.”

Highlighting the recognition enjoyed by Indian films across the world, the President said: “In July this year, a meeting of foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation was held in Uzbekistan, where a popular song from a 1960s Hindi film was performed by a foreign band at the closing ceremony. Films based on Indian characters and values also do well commercially,” she said.

The President also congratulated Dadasaheb Phalke awardee Asha Parekh for her contribution to the world of cinema and said that the award is also a recognition for women empowerment. “The women of Asha Parekh’s generation have made a place for themselves despite shackles. It is an honour for naari shakti.”

During her acceptance speech, Parekh said: “The recognition comes just a day before my 80th birthday. I have been in the industry for the last 60 years and continue to be attached to it in my small way.”

Testimony of Ana was conferred the award for Best Non-Feature Film during the ceremony while Soorarai Pottru was awarded the Best Feature Film. Tamil actor Suriya and Bollywood actor Ajay Devgn jointly received the Best Actor Award while Aparrna Balamurali was conferred the award for Best Actress. Sachidanandan KR was given the Best Director award for Malayalam movie AK Ayyappanum Koshiyum and Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior received the Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment. The awards pertained to films released in 2020.

Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting Anurag Singh Thakur said, “Today, cinema has crossed the boundaries of theatre and reached the comforts of our homes and mobile phones with the advent of OTT. In the middle of the grim reality of Covid-19 and fragile global macroeconomic conditions, the manoranjan and messaging provided by cinema was a beacon of hope.”

He invited the award winners to guide the future creators of movies, adding that their support will shape the next generation of award winners.

Besides Parekh, another awardee who got standing ovation was Nanchamma, a folk singer from Kerala who bagged the award for Best Female Playback Singer for Malayalam film AK Ayyappanum Koshiyum.

Incidentally, Shashi Tharoor’s sister Shobha Tharoor Srinivasan, was among the awardees. She bagged the best narration award for a 22-minute English non-feature film, Rhapsody of Rains: Monsoons of Kerala.

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