44th National Film Award of 1997

The 44th National Film Awards for the year 1997 celebrated the excellence and creativity in Indian cinema. These prestigious awards are bestowed upon individuals and films that have made remarkable contributions to the Indian film industry. From outstanding performances to thought-provoking scripts, the 44th National Film Awards recognized and honored the best in various categories. Let’s delve into the details of this year’s awards.


The National Film Awards, established in 1954, are presented annually by the Government of India. They are considered one of the most distinguished awards in the Indian film industry. The awards aim to acknowledge and promote the artistic, cultural, and technical excellence of Indian cinema. The 44th National Film Awards, held in 1997, showcased the exceptional talent and creativity within the Indian film fraternity.

Award Categories

Here is a list of some of the prominent award categories for the 44th National Film Awards:

Award CategoryFilmLanguageAwardee(s)Cash Prize
Best Feature FilmLal DarjaBengaliProducer: Chitrani Lahiri<br>Director: Buddhadeb Dasgupta₹ 50,000/- Each
Best Debut Film of a DirectorRag BiragAssameseProducer: Bhabhen Baruah and Khanin Baruah<br>Director: Bidyut Chakraborty₹ 25,000/- Each
Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome EntertainmentMaachisHindiProducer: R. V. Pandit<br>Director: Gulzar₹ 40,000/- Each
Best Children’s FilmDamuBengaliProducer: Art Films<br>Director: Raja Sen₹ 30,000/- Each
Best DirectionKadhal KottaiTamilAgathiyan₹ 50,000/-


Golden Lotus Award (Swarna Kamal)

  • Best Actor: Kamal Haasan (Indian, Tamil)
    • Citation: For his double role in the film. His remarkable range in the entire diverse roles shows his excellent calibre as an actor.
  • Best Actress: Tabu (Maachis, Hindi)
    • Citation: For sensitive portrayal of a woman trapped in the vortex of conflicts.
  • Best Supporting Actor: Nana Patekar (Agni Sakshi, Hindi)
    • Citation: For his brilliant performance as an obsessed husband.
  • Best Supporting Actress: Rajeshwari Sachdev (Sardari Begum, Urdu)
    • Citation: For her role in the film, in which she depicts the aspirations and agony of a lonely teenage girl.
  • Best Child Artist:
    • Kavya (Little Soldiers, Telugu)
      • Citation: For her excellent performance.
    • Kumar (Desadanam, Malayalam)
      • Citation: For his excellent performance.

Silver Lotus Award (Rajat Kamal)

  • Best Feature Film on National Integration: Kanakkinavu (Malayalam)
    • Citation: For its brilliant and bold approach to National Integration and the futility of division in the name of religion.
  • Best Film on Family Welfare: Latthi (Bengali)
    • Citation: For focusing on the plight of the seniors in the society and how a determined group of pensioners transform the power relations in a family, in a wholesome manner.
  • Best Film on Other Social Issues: Tamanna (Hindi)
    • Citation: For depicting the selfless dedication and love of eunuchs for an abandoned child.
  • Best Male Playback Singer: S. P. Balasubrahmanyam (Minsara Kanavu, Tamil)
    • Citation: For his brilliant rendering of the song.
  • Best Female Playback Singer: K. S. Chithra (Minsara Kanavu, Tamil)
    • Citation: For her soulful rendering of the song.
  • Best Cinematography:
    • Adajya (Assamese)
      • Cameraman: Mrinal Kanti Das
      • Laboratory Processing: Prasad Film Laboratories
      • Citation: For his versatile, imaginative and superb combinations and mood lighting.
    • Rag Birag (Assamese)
      • Cameraman: Mrinal Kanti Das
      • Laboratory Processing: Prasad Film Laboratories
      • Citation: For his versatile, imaginative and superb combinations and mood lighting.
  • Best Screenplay: Kadhal Kottai (Tamil)
    • Citation: For tightly knit and smooth flowing plot with excellent dialogues and razor-sharp tuning.
  • Best Audiography: Desadanam (Malayalam)
    • Citation: For excellent use and blending of ambient sound with superb effects, appropriate to the spirit depicted in the film.
  • Best Editing: Rag Birag (Assamese)
    • Citation: For slickly editing with imagination, setting the pace and flow of the story.
  • Best Art Direction: Indian (Tamil)
    • Art Director: Thotta Tharani
    • Citation: For erection of sets and selection of locations perfectly retaining the period depicted in the story and enhancing the huge canvas of the film.
  • Best Costume Design: Kulam (Malayalam)
    • Costume Designer: M. Dandapani
    • Citation: For creating beautiful costumes that are authentic to the period depicted in the film.
  • Best Music Direction: Minsara Kanavu (Tamil)
    • Music Director: A. R. Rahman
    • Citation: For innovative compositions breaking all traditions, entering into a new era.
  • Best Lyrics: Saaz (Hindi)
    • Lyricist: Javed Akhtar
    • Citation: For its poetic and traditional expression.
  • Best Special Effects: Indian (Tamil)
    • Special Effects: S. T. Venki
    • Citation: For recreation of the period images and also for combining new footage with stock footage.
  • Best Choreography: Minsara Kanavu (Tamil)
    • Choreographer: Prabhu Deva
    • Citation: For sensual body language that is par excellence and appropriate to unique choreographic patterns.
  • Special Jury Award:
    • Daayraa (Hindi)
      • Amol Palekar (Director)
      • Citation: For the sensitive handling of a challenging theme laying bare the agony and courage of a neglected and marginalised section of our society.
    • Sardari Begum (Urdu)
      • Kirron Kher (Actor)
      • Citation: For superb depiction of a dynamic person who breaks shackles of society and achieves excellence in her chosen profession.
  • Special Mention:
    • Sanghat (Bengali)
      • Dolon Roy (Actress)
      • Certificate Only
      • Citation: For her performance in the film.
    • Adajya (Assamese)
      • Bhagirathee (Actress)
      • Citation: For her performance in Durga’s role in the film.

Regional Awards

The 44th National Film Awards also recognized outstanding films in various regional languages. Here are the winners in the regional categories:

Best Feature Film in Assamese

  • Film: Adajya
  • Producer: Nayan Prasad
  • Director: Santwana Bardoloi
  • Citation: For a subtle and sensitive exploration of loneliness trauma and coverage of 3 widows caught in the complex web of ritualistic beliefs.

Best Feature Film in Bengali

  • Film: Sanghat
  • Producer: Pinaki Chaudhuri
  • Director: Pinaki Chaudhuri
  • Citation: For effectively bringing out the trials and tribulations faced by working women in contemporary society.

Best Feature Film in Hindi

  • Film: Gudia
  • Producer: Amit Khanna and Mahesh Bhatt
  • Director: Gautam Ghose
  • Citation: For an unusual exploration into the lives of traditional entertainers and the entwined relationships between the animate and inanimate players that develop into an obsession.

Best Feature Film in Kannada

  • Film: America! America!!
  • Producer: G. Nandakumar
  • Director: Nagathihalli Chandrashekhar
  • Citation: For mature handling of a deftly written script set in USA and India holding up love for one’s own country and cultural values.

Best Feature Film in Malayalam

  • Film: Desadanam
  • Producer: Jayaraj
  • Director: Jayaraj
  • Citation: For depicting in an excellent manner the conflicts between love, traditional bonds and duties, arising out of religious beliefs.

Best Feature Film in Marathi

  • Film: Rao Saheb
  • Producer: K. B. Joshi and Ravindra Surve
  • Director: Sanjay Surkar
  • Citation: For depicting the struggle for power of ambitious politicians in a most effective manner.

Best Feature Film in Oriya

  • Film: Shunya Swaroopa
  • Producer: Alaya Kumar Mohanty
  • Director: Himanshu Sekhar Khatua
  • Citation: For a beautifully photographed film depicting the conflicts of a layman floundering in the world of sanyasias.

Best Feature Film in Tamil

  • Film: Kadhal Kottai
  • Producer: D. Pandian
  • Director: Agaththian
  • Citation: For a charming love story with unusual twists and turns of fate told in an interesting manner with good production values.

Best Feature Film in Telugu

  • Film: Ninne Pelladutha
  • Producer: Nagarjuna
  • Director: Krishna Vamsi
  • Citation: For the innovative way in which a family drama with the contemporary theme is handled.

Best Feature Film in Urdu

  • Film: Sardari Begum
  • Producer: Amit Khanna and Mahesh Bhatt
  • Director: Shyam Benegal
  • Citation: For excellent recreation of an era and showing dedication of an artist to music that defies all orthodox and conservative values.

Non-Feature Films

The non-feature film category at the 44th National Film Awards recognized exceptional short films from across India. Here are the winners:

Golden Lotus Award (Swarna Kamal)

  • Best Non-Feature Film: Sham’s Vision (English)
    • Producer: Manu Grover
    • Director: Shaji N. Karun
    • Citation: For its moving portrayal of an artist’s rich inner vision which lights his outer world of darkness.

Silver Lotus Award (Rajat Kamal)

  • Best First Non-Feature Film: Yeh Woh Sahar To Nahin (Hindi)
    • Producer: Film and Television Institute of India
    • Director: Sudhakar Rao
    • Citation: For its imaginative use of sound and visuals to capture the undercurrents of human response to outer tensions.
  • Best Biographical Film: Hastir Kanya (Assamese)
    • Producer: Digbijay Medhi
    • Director: Prabin Hazarika
    • Citation: For exploring the world of Goalpariya folk music through the life of singer Pratima Borooah Pandey of Gauripur, Assam.
  • Best Arts / Cultural Film: Nauka Charitramu (English)
    • Producer: Saroj Satyanarayan
    • Director: Saroj Satyanarayan
    • Citation: For its innovative cinematic portrayal of three women musicians of Carnatic tradition.
  • Best Film on Social Issues: Silent Screams: A Village Chronicle (English)
    • Producer: Jose Sebastián
    • Director: O. K. Johnny
    • Citation: For highlighting with sensitivity and sincerity, the agony of the tribal woman of Thrinelli, Kerala.
  • Best Educational / Motivational / Instructional Film: Rabia Chalikkunnu (Malayalam)
    • Producer: Abraham Benhur
    • Director: Ali Akbar
    • Citation: For its credible and inspiring portrayal of a young girl who overcomes her physical and social disabilities and becomes a role model for society.
  • Best Investigative Film: N. M. No. 309 Bhiwandi Tragedy (English)
    • Producer: Yash Chowdhary
    • Director: V. Packiri Swamy
    • Citation: For the exploration of the issue of health hazards faced by migrant industrial workers.
  • Best Animation Film: The Lost Horizon (Only music)
    • Producer: Arun Gongade
    • Director: Arun Gongade
    • Animator: Arun Gongade
    • Citation: For its creative synthesis of animation with Warli folk art in conveying a vital environmental message.
  • Best Short Fiction Film:
    • Vidiyalai Nokki (Tamil)
      • Producer: F and T, V. T. I. N. Chennai
      • Director: P. Venkatesh
      • Citation: For making an eloquent statement on the gift of sight.
    • Athmeeyam (Malayalam)
      • Producer: Film and Television Institute of India
      • Director: Nandakumar Kavil
      • Citation: For presenting a traditional artist’s inner rebellion against the denial of his creative identity.
  • Best Film on Family Welfare: Bhit (Bengali)
    • Producer: Films Division and K. R. G. Films
    • Director: Glbahar Singh
    • Citation: For its credible depiction of a rural health worker’s efforts in transforming her community.
  • Best Cinematography: Sham’s Vision (English)
    • Cameraman: Hari Nair
    • Laboratory Processing: Prasad Film Lab
    • Citation: For his brilliant use of light and shade, to bring to life even inanimate objects in the film.
  • Best Audiography: Tat Tvam Asi (Hindi and English)
    • Nihar R. Samal
    • Citation: For his restrained, balanced, and multi-layered soundtrack.
  • Best Editing: Nauka Charitramu (English)
    • A. Sreekar Prasad
    • Citation: For knitting together harmoniously into an unbroken visual flow in the film.
  • Special Jury Award: Dhatu Jhar ’96 (Bengali)
    • Nilotpal Majumdar (Producer, Director, and Cinematographer)
    • Citation: For his bold and experimental exploration of the dilemma between discovery and destruction.

Best Writing on Cinema

The 44th National Film Awards also recognized exceptional contributions in the field of film criticism and literature related to cinema. Here are the winners:

Golden Lotus Award (Swarna Kamal)

  • Best Book on Cinema: The Eye of the Serpent (English)
    • Author: S. Theodore Baskaran
    • Publisher: East West Books Pvt. Ltd.
    • Citation: For the methodically researched books on Tamil films which inform and enlighten the reader about one of the most prolific cinemas of our country which has kept re-defining itself over the decades.
  • Best Film Critic: M. K. Raghavendra
    • Citation: For his provocative and iconoclastic writing, which inspires debate and discussion, so rare in film criticism today.


What is the Dadasaheb Phalke Award?

The Dadasaheb Phalke Award, introduced in 1969, is the highest award given to recognize the contributions of film personalities towards the development of Indian cinema and for distinguished contributions to the medium, its growth, and promotion. In the 44th National Film Awards, it was awarded to Sivaji Ganesan.

How are the National Film Awards categorized?

The National Film Awards include categories for feature films, non-feature films, and awards for writing on cinema. Feature films are further categorized into awards for various aspects like Best Actor, Best Director, Best Film, and more. Non-feature films include categories like Best Non-Feature Film, Best Documentary, and more.

Who were the jury members for the 44th National Film Awards?

The jury members for the 44th National Film Awards included prominent figures from the film industry and related fields. Some of the jury members for feature films were T. Subbarami Reddy (Chairperson), Basu Chatterjee, Charuhasan, Madhu, Mike Pandey, Nirad N. Mohapatra, Vijaya Mulay, Raghav Menon, Sushma Shiromani, Jwngdao Bodosa, M. S. Sathyu, G. Venkateswaran, D. Ramanaidu, Swaraj Lamba, and Swapan Kumar Ghosh.

For non-feature films, the jury was led by N. S. Thapa (Chairperson) and included members like Swapna Sundari, Meera Dewan, Sukumaran, and Punathil Kunjabdulla.

How are the National Film Awards significant in the Indian film industry?

The National Film Awards are highly significant in the Indian film industry as they recognize and honor excellence in various aspects of filmmaking. These awards celebrate the artistic, cultural, and technical contributions of filmmakers and actors. Winning a National Film Award is considered a prestigious achievement and a symbol of excellence in Indian cinema.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.