A lot of controversy and chaos sparkled when Akshay Kumar was facilitated with the Best Actor’s National Award for his performance in Rustom. Based on the Nanavati Case, the film was severely panned for its portrayal of India’s most vexed trial.
Right from the media houses to newspapers to Indian filmmakers and celebrities, Kumar was under the scrutiny of almost everyone. There were conjectures that filmmaker Priyadarshan, the head of the jury this year, was the reason behind the actor’s win.
Ask him about this and he says- “The award is for both Airlift and Rustom. The National Awards’ jury felt Akshay Kumar was equally outstanding in the two contrasting roles. For technical reasons, we could only mention one film in the list of winners”.
Akshay Kumar has been tirelessly working in the Hindi film industry for the last 25 years. Foraying into the world of movies in 1991, Kumar has delivered some really compelling and soaring performances in his career. Sangharsh (1999), Baby (2015), Special 26 (2013), Airlift (2016), Rustom (2016) and Jolly LLB 2 (2017), to name a few.
Despite pouring all his passion and vigor into his films and characters, the actor hardly received a popular award, let alone an award as prestigious and honorable as a National Award. His maiden Filmfare Award came to his kitty almost a decade after his debut. The film was Ajnabee (2001) and the category was Best Actor in a Negative Role.
In one of his interviews with Rajeev Masand in 2015, when questioned about his absence from award functions, the actor confessed how he used to receive phone calls from the organizers who asked him to come and perform at half-the-price in exchange for an award, he, in return, asked them to keep the award and give him the complete prize.
In an industry, driven by the lust to win awards and even the desire to sometimes pay for them ( Rishi Kapoor confessed in his book about buying a popular award for Bobby in 1974), it’s commendable how Kumar has respectfully distanced himself from such Bollywood bamboozles. So the conjectures of the actor buying the National Award can be put to rest.
Yes, Manoj Bajpayee in Aligarh, Aamir Khan in Dangal and Amitabh Bachchan in Pink, were all haunting and galvanizing performances, but Kumar’s hard-work, commitment and sweat were no less and it’s high time we realized this.
Till then, haters and critics should peacefully accept the actor’s win and move on in their lives.
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