Ajay Devgn has been conferred with the Best Actor award for the film Tanjahi: The Unsung Hero at the 68th National Film Awards being held at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. The 53-year-old actor was declared a joint winner in the category alongside Tamil superstar Suriya, who won the award for his performance in the film Soorarai Pottru.

Devgn has now become a three-time National Award winner in the Best Actor category. He earlier won the award in 1998 for Zakhm and in 2002 for The Legend of Bhagat Singh.

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Tanhaji, a film directed by Om Raut, centers around the titular character, who is a lieutenant working in the army of Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji. After Kondhana fort is conquered by the Mughals, it is Tanhaji who leads a charge to recover the same for his king.

Raut himself bagged the National Award for Best Popular Film for Tanhaji. However, it was Suriya’s Soorarai Pottru, which proved to be the biggest winner of the night. Besides Suriya, Aparna Balamurali won the Best Actress Award, screenwriter duo Kongara and Nair won the Best Screenplay Award, and Prakash Kumar won for Best Background score. 

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The 68th National Film Awards also witnessed Asha Parekh being conferred with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India’s highest honour in films. Parekh is known for her performances in films like Teesri Manzil, Kati Patang, and Kaalia. Parekh, on receiving the prestigious honour, remarked, “It is a huge honour to have received Dadasaheb Phalke Award. It makes me very grateful that the recognition comes to me just one day before my 80th birthday”.

All the films that were considered for the 68th National Awards had released in 2020. This is because the awards had to be suspended in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is not clear when the films made in 2021 will be honoured.