New Delhi: Winning a National Award is a big deal, says Kriti Sanon after bagging her maiden best actress honour and she hopes it marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in her professional journey.
Sanon, who is currently in her ninth year as an actor, bagged the award on Thursday for her performance in filmmaker Laxman Utekar’s dramedy “Mimi”.
“It is definitely a big moment for me, my family and those who associated with me on this film. I’ll always remember what I felt when I got to know that I have won this award. I’m hoping that this is the beginning of a new chapter of my life,” the 33-year-old actor told PTI in an interview.
“Mimi”, in which Sanon played the titular character who decides to be a surrogate mother for a foreign couple, is a gift that continues to give, she added.
“The National Award is a big deal and it’s the most prestigious award. It is a film that is so close to my heart and has already given me so much love, whether it is from the audiences or my first Best Actress award. I think this film will hold a very special place in my filmography for life,” the Delhi-born actor said.
Sanon recalled that she gave everything to the character and is now happy that her efforts have resulted in her winning the first National Award of her career.
“‘Mimi’ is one of those films that really touches your heart and you become passionate about it as an actor. It gives you so much to do as an actor that you want to explore. That’s exactly what happened to me in this film. The whole journey that I went through, gaining 15 kilos, it had chunks which were extremely draining, but it all kind of feels worth it now,” she said.
Sanon shares the best actress award with her contemporary Alia Bhatt, who was recognised for her performance in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s period biopic “Gangubai Kathiawadi”.
And the actor said she couldn’t be more happy.
“I’ve always admired her work and her as an actor, she’s phenomenal. It’s so well deserved for ‘Gangubai’, and if I have to share it with anyone, it would be her. In fact, I also called her up and we congratulated each other. We were just two happy and excited girls, kind of sharing this moment,” Sanon said.
Both “Mimi” and “Gangubai Kathiawadi” were successful mainstream movies led by women and won multiple honours at the National Awards.
Sanon’s “Mimi” co-star Pankaj Tripathi also won the best supporting actor award, while “Gangubai Kathiawadi” bagged four more awards — best screenplay (adapted) and editing for Bhansali, best dialogue writer and best make-up.
When asked whether she sees the award recognition as a sign of changing times in the industry, Sanon said, “the change is already happening”.
“Probably because of this, the best actress award has gone to two women who have done films that are named after their characters. Now, it’s getting a stamp of validation. I’m hoping that this change continues and there are more and more amazing scripts written for women,” the actor said.
She also hopes that people look beyond “the gender and the star power of the actor” of a movie and instead focus on its story.
“It is the story and the script which is actually the star of the film. It should get its due and grab the attention of the audience,” Sanon added.
The actor is also happy for Tripathi, who won the best supporting actor honour for his role of Bhanu Pratap Pandey in the movie.
Sanon said Tripathi, who earlier received a special mention from National Awards jury for his 2017 movie “Newton”, is one of her favourite co-stars. The duo have collaborated on multiple movies, including hits “Bareilly Ki Barfi” and “Luka Chuppi”.
“I was very excited. I really have a lot of regard for Pankaj sir, and I just feel that he’s so wonderful and talented. I always feel so happy whenever he gets love and validation. When I heard that he also won the National Award for ‘Mimi’, my excitement doubled.” Up next for Sanon is her maiden project as a producer — “Do Patti”, in which she stars alongside Kajol.
She called the movie, which will debut on Netflix, an “exciting new feather in the cap”.
“We have started filming and I’m really looking forward to it. Probably after ‘Mimi’, this might actually be my most challenging role. So it is also exciting at the same time,” Sanon said.