"Sardar Udham" on Thursday won National Award in five categories and the film's director Shoojit Sircar said the team, including lead star Vicky Kaushal, were dedicating the honour to late actor Irrfan Khan, who was originally set to portray the central character. The director and Irrfan collaborated in the 2015 film "Piku". The actor passed away in April 2020 after a two year-long battle with a rare form of cancer, had to leave "Sardar Udham" as he was ailing.
"Me, my team, my producer Ronnie Lahiri, Sheel, Vicky Kaushal and the entire team (of ‘Sardar Udham’) want to dedicate this National award to the late Irrfan Khan,” Sircar told PTI in an interview.
"I miss him every day. I missed him in this film but Vicky Kaushal gave one of his finest performances. He also dedicated his performance to Irrfan Khan. Irrfan has created a vacuum in this industry and we are unable to digest the fact that he is not there. He is missed, that calibre of actor we need in the industry,” the filmmaker said.
The biopic, which released on Prime Video last year, tracks the life of the freedom fighter, who assassinated Michael O'Dwyer, the former Lieutenant Governor of Punjab in British India in 1940, to avenge the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
At the 69th National Film Awards, “Sardar Udham” won Best Hindi Film, Best Cinematography (Avik Mukhopadhayay), Best Costume Designer (Veera Kapur Ee), Best Production Design (Dmitri Malich & Mansi Dhruv Mehta), and Best Audiography: Re-Recording (Final Mixing) (Sinoy Joseph).
Sircar said he is thrilled that his team has received recognition in several categories and thanked everyone for supporting the movie's mission.
"When you get multiple awards, it proves that cinema is a collaborative art, and you collaborate with people, with an artist, and different creative minds. These five awards that we have got shows that everybody was focusing on the vision of the film and we were together on the same path,” he said.
Known for films like “Vicky Donor”, “Piku”, and “Gulabo Sitabo”, Sircar said it is essential to tell stories about the revolutionaries, who sacrificed their lives for India’s independence.
"There were many unsung heroes, revolutionaries, unsung martyrs, who gave up their lives and sacrificed for our independence. Apart from people in Punjab, people were unaware of Sardar Udham, what were his thoughts as a revolutionary, how he was associated with Bhagat Singh, and the ways in which he protested against Britishers.
"I hope many more films are being made on these unsung revolutionaries, and present their point of view, and what do you think a revolutionary should do,” he added.
Sircar said the recognition that “Sardar Udham” received reaffirmed his faith that movies based on unsung heroes have an audience.
Sircar's films including “Vicky Donor”, “Piku” and “Pink” also won National honours in several categories. Sircar claimed that this type of acknowledgment is significant.
“A national recognition is really prestigious. The National award gives you a lot of courage that possibly what you are trying to do with a film, the vision that you had, has somehow reached, like it has reached the jury also. It is like coming full circle,” he said.
Up next for Sircar is a slice-of-drama with Abhishek Bachchan and the director said the movie is currently in pre-production stage.
Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.