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    Default V. Shantaram's Race Awards for excellence

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    Kiran Shantaram, the son of the late doyen among filmmakers- V. Shantaram who had founded the 'Race Awards' seventeen years ago in memory of his father said that though as many as seven hundred films were being made in our country in various languages, very few films could be considered for the RACE awards for the simple reason that there were strict rules and regulations when it comes to eligibility for awards.

    Kiran continued, "We do not accept any film which sets out to glorify sex or for that matter violence and very few filmmakers in India curtail sex and violence. Though we get very few entries as a result of this, we are happy that our banner has been kept afloat and alive for the last seventeen years."

    The highlight of the awards function, which was held at the Novotel in Juhu, was the august and rare presence of the yester year actress Sandhya to mark the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the release of V. Shantaram's magnum opus 'Navrang'. Kiran reminded the audience that the film broke records at the box office with a run that can be compared to the run of films in the past two years in India, that too at a time when there was no television to compete with Cinema.

    The annual awards function which sets out to celebrate excellence in Indian Cinema as against Hindi cinema, which all commercial awards functions do, was held this year in aid of Wockhardt Foundation's initiative -Right To Vision. Kiran stated that his father who was in the industry for seventy years had taken a decision to unite people through Cinema and he was trying to carry out his vision and what he told by holding the awards every year.

    Gaurav Kapoor the host kept the evening witty with his wisecracks and declared that though there will be less of fluff, there will be more of merit all through the evening. The first award of the evening went to Anuj Mathur for Best Sound in 'Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi'. Documentary filmmaker Vinod Ganatra gave away the award to him amidst thundering applause, while Aarti Bajaj bagged the award for Best Editing for 'Love Aaj Kal' from P.V. Gangadharan in absentia.

    Shiamak Davar walked away with the Best Choreography award for the film 'Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi' at the hands of Kiran Shantaram and M.P. Singh, while the ace cameraman Thiru walked away with the award for Best Cinematography for the Tamil film 'Kanchivaram' at the hands of Jeetendra. Sandeep Shrivastava bagged the award for Best Story and Screenplay in tandem with Aditya Chopra who was absent for the film 'New York' from Basu Chatterjee.

    Pritam deservedly bagged the Best Music award for his score in 'Love Aaj Kal'. Pandit Jasraj gave away the award to Imtiaz Ali who accepted it ion behalf of Pritam and said that it was a pity that Pritam missed the great opportunity to receive his award in person from the great maestro. Nandita Das, who bagged the Best Debut Director award for 'Firaaq' from Ashok Saraf and Nivedita Saraf also gave away the Best Supporting Actress award to Renuka Shahane for the Marathi film 'Rita', which was incidentally also directed by Renuka herself. Pallavi Joshi, who played the leading lady in her film, accepted the award on Renuka's behalf.

    Both Anushka Sharma who bagged the Best Debut Artiste in a lead role award and Irfan Khan who bagged the Best Supporting Actor award were absent.

    Rani Mukerjee walked away with the Best Actress award at the hands of Rahul Shantaram for her performance in 'Dil Bole Hadippa' while Prakash Raj bagged the award for Best Actor for 'Kanchivaram' at the hands of Govind Nihalani.

    There were three awards each for the Best Film as well as Best Director category. Imtiaz Ali bagged the Bronze award for 'Love Aaj Kal' while Satish Manwar bagged the Silver award for 'Gabhricha Paus'. Priyadarshan walked away with the Gold award for 'Kanchivaram'. Priyadarshan brought the roof down when he stated, as a matter of fact, that though he has been directing films for the past 27 years in Malayalam and Hindi and made 80 films, it was for the first time that he was being conferred with an award for direction. "Even the National award was given to me in my capacity as the producer of 'Kanchivaram' and not as a director", he added.

    Yash Chopra and Kiran Shantaram gave away the Bronze award to Dinesh Vijan for 'Love Aaj Kal', the Silver award to producer Prashant Pethe for 'Gabhricha Paus' and last but not the least the Gold award to Shailendra Singh of Perfect Picture Company for 'Kanchivaram'. Graciously Shailendra Singh called upon Priyadarshan to come on the dais and said that since he had co-produced the film 'Kanchivaram' along with Priyadarshan, Priyadarshan also deserved to share the award with him.

    The faux pas of the evening was the pronouncing of the name of the Marathi film 'Gabhricha Paus' as 'Ghabraicha Paus' by Dabboo Kapoor and the pronouncing of the Malayalam title 'Rathri Mazha' as 'Ratri Maajha' by the announcer when the audiovisuals of the film were being flashed repeatedly.


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