36th National Film Award of 1989

The 36th National Film Awards held in 1989 celebrated the excellence of Indian cinema in the year gone by. These awards recognized outstanding achievements across various categories, spanning feature films, non-feature films, and writing on cinema. The event showcased the remarkable contributions of filmmakers, actors, technicians, and critics, fostering a deeper appreciation for the art of filmmaking.


The 36th National Film Awards showcased the diversity and vibrancy of Indian cinema, acknowledging exceptional talents that left an indelible mark on the industry. The awards were presented in categories such as Lifetime Achievement, Feature Films, Non-Feature Films, and Writing on Cinema.

Award Categories

Lifetime Achievement Award

The prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award, the highest honor in Indian cinema, was bestowed upon the legendary actor Ashok Kumar. His contribution to the film industry was recognized with the award, which included a Swarna Kamal (Golden Lotus), a cash prize of ₹ 100,000, and a shawl.

Feature Films

The feature film awards were a celebration of cinematic excellence across various languages and genres. Notable winners included:

Best Feature Film

  • Film: Piravi
  • Language: Malayalam
  • Producer: S. Jayachandran Nair
  • Director: Shaji N. Karun
  • Prize: ₹ 50,000 (Producer), ₹ 25,000 (Director)
  • Citation: For creative evocation of human pathos with refined cinematic sensitivity.

Best Direction

  • Film: Piravi
  • Language: Malayalam
  • Director: Shaji N. Karun
  • Prize: ₹ 50,000
  • Citation: For remarkable success in accomplishing fusion of various elements and creating new heights of cinematic aesthetics.

Best Actor

  • Film: Piravi
  • Language: Malayalam
  • Actor: Premji
  • Prize: ₹ 10,000
  • Citation: For excellence in restrained performance.

Non-Feature Films

The non-feature film awards recognized exceptional contributions in documentary, newsreel, and fiction categories. Some of the winners were:

Best Non-Feature Film

  • Film: Kanaka Purandara
  • Language: Kannada
  • Producer/Director: Girish Karnad
  • Prize: ₹ 15,000 Each
  • Citation: For communicating the facets of Bhakti through the lives of Kanakadas and Purandaradas, transcending barriers of caste and creed.

Best Short Fiction Film

  • Film: The Story of Tiblu
  • Language: Idu Mishmi
  • Producer/Director: Santosh Sivan
  • Prize: ₹ 10,000 Each
  • Citation: For capturing the story of a tribal girl adapting to urban life while retaining her innocence and sensitivity.

Writing on Cinema

The awards for writing on cinema aimed to encourage critical appreciation and scholarly exploration of the art of filmmaking. Notable recipients included:

Best Book on Cinema

  • Book: The Moving Image
  • Language: English
  • Author: Kishore Vallicha
  • Publisher: Orient Longman
  • Prize: ₹ 10,000
  • Citation: For its analytic insights and plausible theoretical framework.

Best Film Critic

  • Language: Hindi
  • Critic: Manmohan Chadha
  • Prize: ₹ 5,000
  • Citation: For the seriousness of his approach and the wide compass of his thoughts.

Winners Table

The following table presents a concise overview of some of the winners at the 36th National Film Awards:

Best Feature FilmPiraviMalayalamShaji N. Karun₹ 50,000
Best ActorPiraviMalayalamPremji₹ 10,000
Best Non-Feature FilmKanaka PurandaraKannadaGirish Karnad₹ 15,000
Best Short Fiction FilmThe Story of TibluIdu MishmiSantosh Sivan₹ 10,000
Best Book on CinemaThe Moving ImageEnglishKishore Vallicha (Author)₹ 10,000
Best Film CriticHindiManmohan Chadha (Critic)₹ 5,000


Q: What is the Dadasaheb Phalke Award? A: The Dadasaheb Phalke Award is the highest honor in Indian cinema, recognizing outstanding contributions to the film industry.

Q: Who received the Lifetime Achievement Award in the 36th National Film Awards? A: The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to the legendary actor Ashok Kumar.

Q: Which film won the Best Feature Film award? A: The Malayalam film Piravi won the Best Feature Film award.

Q: Who received the Best Actor award? A: The Best Actor award was awarded to Premji for his performance in the film Piravi.

Q: What is the purpose of the awards for writing on cinema? A: The awards for writing on cinema aim to encourage critical analysis and scholarly exploration of the art of filmmaking.

Q: What is the significance of the Silver Lotus Award (Rajat Kamal)? A: The Silver Lotus Award is a recognition of excellence in various categories, including non-feature films and writing on cinema. It signifies the quality and creativity of the awardees’ contributions.


The 36th National Film Awards of 1989 celebrated the talents that enriched Indian cinema in the preceding year. From mesmerizing performances to insightful writing, these awards highlighted the diversity and creativity that continue to shape the country’s cinematic landscape. The winners’ contributions serve as a testament to the power of storytelling and artistic expression within the realm of filmmaking.


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