39th National Film Awards

39th National Film Awards
Awarded for Best of Indian cinema in 1991
Presented by Directorate of Film Festivals
Official website dff.nic.in
Best Feature Film Agantuk
Best Non-Feature Film Sons of Abotani: The Misings
Most awards Agantuk, Bharatham and Dharavi (3)

The 39th National Film Awards, presented by Directorate of Film Festivals, the organisation set up by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, India to felicitate the best of Indian Cinema released in the year 1991.[1][2] Ceremony took place in 1992.

With 39th National Film Awards, two new awards were introduced for feature films section. These awards includes National Film Award for Best Special Effects and National Film Award for Best Choreography and awarded with Rajat Kamal (Silver Lotus). These two newly introduced awards were not given for 39th National Film Awards as no film/entry was found to be suitable.

Also for Best Writing on Cinema, Best Film Critic is awarded with Swarna Kamal (Golden Lotus), which was till then awarded with Rajat Kamal (Silver Lotus).


Awards were divided into feature films, non-feature films and books written on Indian cinema.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Name of Award Awardee(s) Awarded As Awards
Dadasaheb Phalke Award Bhalji Pendharkar Film director, Film producer and Screenwriter Swarna Kamal, 1,00,000 and a Shawl

Feature Films

Feature films were awarded at All India as well as regional level. For 39th National Film Awards, a Bengali film, Agantuk won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film also winning the maximum number of awards (3) along with a Malayalam film, Bharatham and a Hindi film, Dharavi. Following were the awards given in each category:[1][2]


A committee headed by Adoor Gopalakrishnan was appointed to evaluate the feature films awards. Following were the jury members:[1][2]

All India Award

Following were the awards given:[1][2]

Golden Lotus Award

Official Name: Swarna Kamal[1][2]

All the awardees are awarded with 'Golden Lotus Award (Swarna Kamal)', a certificate and cash prize.

Name of Award Name of Film Language Awardee(s) Cash Prize
Best Feature Film Agantuk Bengali Producer: NFDC 50,000/-
Director: Satyajit Ray 25,000/-
Citation: For its masterly treatment of an unusual subject investing it with humour, suspense and drama accomplishing remarkable insight into human behaviour.
Best Direction Agantuk Bengali Satyajit Ray 50,000/-
Citation: For the outstanding craftsmanship and the command over the language of cinema he employed in creating a remarkable cinematic experience.
Best Debut Film of A Director Haladhar Assamese Producer: Geeti Barua and Dwijen Hazorika
Director: Sanjeev Hazorika
25,000/- Each
Citation: For its freshness of approach, the subtlety of its pervasive humour and the courage shown in choosing to build a film around a plough.
Best Children's Film Abhayam Malayalam Producer: Children's Film Society 30,000/-
Director: Sivan 15,000/-
Citation: For its outstanding qualities as a film that entertains children and adults alike.
Silver Lotus Award

Official Name: Rajat Kamal[1][2]

All the awardees are awarded with 'Silver Lotus Award (Rajat Kamal)', a certificate and cash prize.

Name of Award Name of Film Language Awardee(s) Cash Prize
Second Best Feature Film Firingoti Assamese Producer: Sailadhar Baruah and Jahnu Barua 30,000/-
Director: Jahnu Barua 15,000/-
Citation: For its artistic excellence and for the effective use of the medium for portraying a theme of immense social relevance.
Best Screenplay Kadavu Malayalam M. T. Vasudevan Nair 10,000/-
Citation: For its sensitive and poetic treatment of disillusionment of an underprivileged adolescent.
Best Cinematography Aadi Mimansa Oriya Cameraman: Apurba Kishore Bir
Laboratory Processing: Prasad Film Laboratories
10,000/- Each
Citation: For achieving high degree of accomplishment in painting the film with light, imparting a sensuous quality to the texture and feel of the film.
Best Audiography Rukmavati Ki Haveli Hindi Ajay Munjal, A. M. Padmanabhan 10,000/-
Citation: For the quality and effectiveness of sound in contributing to the ambience of stark oppression that pervades the film.
Best Editing Dharavi Hindi Renu Saluja 10,000/-
Citation: For achieving right timing and rhythm, with the dexterous juxtaposition of sound and visuals.
Best Art Direction Rukmavati Ki Haveli Hindi Samir Chanda 10,000/-
Citation: For creating an authentic and real setting, matching the mood and manner of the film.
Best Music Direction Dharavi Hindi Rajat Dholakia 10,000/-
Citation: For using music as an integral part of the film structure, furthering the meaning and dimensions of the theme.
Best Costume Design Lamhe Hindi Neeta Lulla, Kachins and Leena Daru 10,000/-
Citation: For faithfully recreating the colour, variety and richness of the dresses worn in Rajasthan.
Best Actor Bharatham Malayalam Mohanlal 10,000/-
Citation: For his range as an actor as well as the restraint he applied in the portrayal of the much misunderstood musician.
Best Actress Firingoti Assamese Moloya Goswami 10,000/-
Citation: For the subtle and natural portral of a teacher who overcomes the trauma of her personal life and dedicates herself to the pursuit of a noble mission.
Best Supporting Actor Yagnam Telugu P. L. Narayana 10,000/-
Citation: For convincing portrayal of the oppressed farmer.
Best Supporting Actress Yamanam Malayalam Santha Devi 10,000/-
Citation: For her work in the film, who lives the role of the understanding and tormented mother.
Best Child Artist Bhadram Koduko Telugu Santhosh Reddy 5,000/-
Citation: For giving a natural performance of a street-smart child.
Best Male Playback Singer Bharatham Malayalam K. J. Yesudas 10,000/-
Citation: For the mellifluous and masterful rendering of songs in the classical style.
Best Female Playback Singer Swathi Kiranam
("Aanati Neeyaraa")
Telugu Vani Jairam 10,000/-
Citation: For the texture and clarity of her voice, which enlivened the classical song sung for the child prodigy.
Best Lyrics Mysooru Mallige Kannada K. S. Narasimhaswamy 10,000/-
Citation: For the depth and poetic quality of the lyrics.
Best Feature Film on National Integration Aadi Mimansa Oriya Producer: Apurba Kishore Bir 30,000/-
Director: Apurba Kishore Bir 15,000/-
Citation: For its strong appeal for integration and upholding of human values brought about through a remarkbly understated treatment of incidents from everyday life.
Best Film on Family Welfare Durga Hindi Producer: NFDC 30,000/-
Director: Basu Chatterjee 15,000/-
Citation: For the skilful way in which the message of small family norm is communicated.
Best Film on Other Social Issues Yamanam Malayalam Producer: Ajayan Varicolil 30,000/-
Director: Bharath Gopi 15,000/-
Citation: For advocating the cause of physically handicapped and upholding their right to be on their own, in a world that is more generous with its sympathy than understanding.
Special Jury Award Antardhan Bengali Soumitra Chatterjee (Actor) 10,000/-
Citation: For his outstanding screen performances, especially in the films of Satyajit Ray.
Agantuk Bengali Mamata Shankar (Actress) Certificate Only
Citation: For her performance as the housewife.
Bharatham Malayalam Raveendran (Music director)
Citation: For the quality of music composed for the song.

Regional Awards

The award is given to best film in the regional languages in India.[1][2]

Name of Award Name of Film Awardee(s) Cash Prize
Best Feature Film in Assamese Sarothi Producer: Bhabendra Nath Saikia 20,000/-
Director: Bhabendra Nath Saikia 10,000/-
Citation: For the suggestive and sympathetic portrayal of the breadwinner of a middle-class family who stands alone and isolated even in his own home.
Best Feature Film in Bengali Antardhan Producer: Nabakumar Chandra, Swapan Kumar Mitra and Sucheta Mitra 20,000/-
Director: Tapan Sinha 10,000/-
Citation: For the manner in which the suspense is built and sustained throughout the film.
Best Feature Film in Hindi Diksha Producer: NFDC and Doordarshan 20,000/-
Director: Arun Kaul 10,000/-
Citation: For the impressive treatment of a relevant social theme.
Dharavi Producer: NFDC and Doordarshan 20,000/-
Director: Sudhir Mishra 10,000/-
Citation: For its affirmation of the indefatigable human spirit of survival.
Best Feature Film in Kannada Mysooru Mallige Producer: Srihari L. Khode 20,000/-
Director: T. S. Nagabharana 10,000/-
Citation: For the bold attempt in conceiving and structuring a film stringing together poems written by the renowned Kannada poet K. S. Narasimhaswamy.
Best Feature Film in Malayalam Kadavu Producer: M. T. Vasudevan Nair 20,000/-
Director: M. T. Vasudevan Nair 10,000/-
Citation: For its simplicity of treatment in the delineation of rural life with a genuine feel for human values and relationships.
Best Feature Film in Oriya Tara Producer: Bijaya Jena 20,000/-
Director: Bijaya Jena 10,000/-
Citation: Marked by its sincerity in truthfully portraying woman's search for her identity in a male dominated society.
Best Feature Film in Tamil Vanna Vanna Pookkal Producer: S. Thanu 20,000/-
Director: Balu Mahendra 10,000/-
Citation: For the truthful and effective portrayal of juvenile romance ending in unexpected tragedy.
Best Feature Film in Telugu Bhadram Koduko Producer: V. Ramachandra Rao 20,000/-
Director: Akkineni Kutumba Rao 10,000/-
Citation: For effectively focussing attention on the need for providing protection to homeless children.

Non-Feature Films

Short Films made in any Indian language and certified by the Central Board of Film Certification as a documentary/newsreel/fiction are eligible for non-feature film section.


A committee headed by Buddhadeb Dasgupta was appointed to evaluate the non-feature films awards. Following were the jury members:[1][2]

Golden Lotus Award

Official Name: Swarna Kamal[1][2]

All the awardees are awarded with 'Golden Lotus Award (Swarna Kamal)', a certificate and cash prize.

Name of Award Name of Film Language Awardee(s) Cash Prize
Best Non-Feature Film Sons of Abotani: The Misings Mishing Producer: Dilip Doley
Director: Gautam Bora
25,000/- Each
Citation: For effectively portraying the life of tribe which lives on the banks of river Bramhaputra and its struggle to survive. The film is marked by its lyrical quality, serenity, sculpted sound and imaginative music.

Silver Lotus Award

Official Name: Rajat Kamal[1][2]

All the awardees are awarded with 'Silver Lotus Award (Rajat Kamal)' and cash prize.

Name of Award Name of Film Language Awardee(s) Cash Prize
Best First Non-Feature Film Kamlabai Marathi, Hindi Producer: Reena Mohan
Director: Reena Mohan
10,000/- Each
Citation: The director has presented a sensitive and heartwarming portrait of a remarkable woman who was the first lady of the Indian screen and a versatile stage actress.
Best Anthropological / Ethnographic Film The Valiant Ones English Producer: A. K. Balakrishnan
Director: A. K. Balakrishnan
10,000/- Each
Citation: For the competently presenting the traditional lifestyle of Kodagus, the distinctive community of Coorga in Karnataka.
Best Biographical Film Bhavantarana Oriya Producer: Bombay Cinematograph Pvt. Ltd
Director: Kumar Shahani
10,000/- Each
Citation: For presenting the life and art of Guru Kelucharan Mahapatra in distinct stylised manner.
Kabitar Ananta Jatrapathe Bengali Producer: Department of Information and Cultural Affairs, Government of West Bengal
Director: Sanat Kumar Dasgupta
Citation: For imaginative visualisation of poetry of the late Jibananand Das and relating it to his life and time.
Best Arts / Cultural Film Sanchari English Producer: Arun Khopkar
Director: Arun Khopkar
10,000/- Each
Citation: For memorable presentation of form and content of the Bharatnatyam dance through the exposition of Leela Samson's art, brilliantly synthesising dance and cinematographic language.
Best Scientific Film Silent Valley - An Indian Rainforest English Producer: Eco Media Pvt. Ltd
Director: Shekhar Dattari and Revati Mukherjee
10,000/- Each
Citation: For its painstaking and inspiring presentation of the ecological heritage and the threat to the environment.
Best Environment / Conservation / Preservation Film Mudialy Ekti Bikalpa Pantha
(The Mudialy Alternative)
English Producer: Dilip Kumar Roy
Director: Samiran Dutta
10,000/- Each
Citation: For faithfully presenting people's participation in improving and conserving the environment.
Best Promotional Film Of Mines and Men English Producer: P. C. Sharma
Director: Raghu Krishna
10,000/- Each
Citation: For presenting the work of Indian Bureau of Mines in all its aspects including its concern for the environment in a competent manner.
Best Agricultural Film Malberiyum Pattunoolum Malayalam Producer: Kerala State Film Development Corporation
Director: P. P. Govindan
10,000/- Each
Citation: For presenting sericulture through all its stages in pleasing and informative manner.
Best Historical Reconstruction / Compilation Film Anand Bhavan English Producer: V. B. Chandra
Director: Yash Chaudhary
10,000/- Each
Citation: For chronicling the history of the home of Nehrus in Allahabad as if told by the huge historic house in the first person.
Best Film on Social Issues Eyes of Stone Hindi, Marwari Producer: Nilita Vachani
Director: Nilita Vachani
10,000/- Each
Citation: For portraying with sympathy and understanding the plight of the so-called possessed women.
Best Educational / Motivational / Instructional Film A Story of Triumph English Producer: Poona District Leprosy Committee
Director: Vishram Revankar
10,000/- Each
Citation: For portraying human triumph over the disease of leprosy through the testimony of cured and rehabilitated patients.
Best Investigative Film Bhagirathi Ki Pukaar Hindi Producer: Anwar Jamal
Director: Anwar Jamal
10,000/- Each
Citation: For the in-depth analysis of the impact of proposed Tehri Dam on the environment and the people affected by it.
Best Animation Film Ballu Shah Hindi Producer: Children's Film Society
Director: Rajesh Aggarwal
Animator: S. M. Hasan
10,000/- Each
Citation: For its humorous presentation of a traditional children's story done with imaginative animation and sound.
Best Short Fiction Film Punaravritti Hindi Producer: Film and Television Institute of India
Director: Imo Singh
10,000/- Each
Citation: For delicating handling the loneliness and plight of an old woman who is forced ot relive emotions because of her overprotective nature.
Totanama Hindi Producer: Vikas Satwalekar
Director: Chandita Mukherjee
Citation: For its traditional style, narrative structure and good production values.
Best Film on Family Welfare A Matter of Motherhood English Producer: Rajiv Mehrotra
Director: Rajiv Mehrotra
10,000/- Each
Citation: For its competent attempt to educate the people, especially in the rural areas, on various aspects of motherhood in the prevailing atmosphere of traditional beliefs.
Best Cinematography Silent Valley - An Indian Rainforest English Cameraman: Shekar Dattari
Laboratory Processing: Prasad Film Laboratories
10,000/- Each
Citation: For the arduous and patient coverage of the flora and fauna of the Silent Valley in Kerala over a period of one-and-a-half years and for giving an intimate portrait of the environment, recorded under difficult conditions.
Best Audiography Sons of Abotani: The Misings Mishing Anil Tendulkar and Gautam Bora 10,000/-
Citation: For the selective and imaginative use of commentary and dialogues and the sculpted sound which enriches the film.
Best Editing Sanchari English Rajesh Parmar 10,000/-
Citation: For his work, which beautifully creates a structure that responds to the rhythms of the dance.
Special Jury Award Meitei Pung English Aribam Syam Sharma (Director) 5,000/-
Citation: For sensitively depicting the role that Pung, the traditional drum, plays in the Sankirtana and social life of Manipur.
Akruti B. Narsing Rao (Director) 5,000/-
Citation: For experimentation with forms of boulders of various shapes and textures, brilliantly visualised by A. K. Bir with the evocative music of Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia.
Living on the Junk English Debal Basu (Director) Certificate Only
Citation: For his work in directing the film. The film is a sincere maiden effort in focussing attention on the significant contribution of ragpickers of a metropolis in minimising the treat to the environment from the junk of a consumerist society.

Best Writing on Cinema

The awards aim at encouraging study and appreciation of cinema as an art form and dissemination of information and critical appreciation of this art-form through publication of books, articles, reviews etc.


A committee headed by Kamleshwar was appointed to evaluate the writing on Indian cinema. Following were the jury members:[1][2]

Golden Lotus Award

Official Name: Swarna Kamal[1][2]

All the awardees are awarded with 'Golden Lotus Award (Swarna Kamal)' and cash prize.

Name of Award Name of Book Language Awardee(s) Cash Prize
Best Book on Cinema Athmanindayude Pookal
(Flowers of Self-Condemnation)
Malayalam Author: Aravindan Vallachira
Publisher: V. R. Pushpakaran
10,000/- Each
Citation: For critical analysis of M. T. Vasudevan Nair's film. The book is an in-depth study of the complexity of human values and the interaction between social institutions and the individual.
Best Film Critic Gautam Kaul 10,000/-
Citation: For the clarity and consistency with which he has written on a wide range of issues, creating a better understanding of cinema as a creative medium.

Awards not given

Following were the awards not given as no film was found to be suitable for the award:[1][2]


External links

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