The film Toolsidas Junior by director Mridul Toolsidass won the prize for best Hindi film at the 68th National Film Awards on Friday. Backed by Ashutosh Gowariker, the sports film is based on the director’s true life story and revolves around the story of childhood with his father. It marked Rajiv Kapoor’s last on-screen appearance before his death. In response to the win, Mridul dedicated the award to his late father and Rajiv Kapoor. (Read also: Toolsidas Junior Director Remembers Wanting His Dad And Rajiv Kapoor To Watch Movies Together)
Mridul said in a statement: “I cannot imagine a greater tribute to both my real and real father as we win this award today. Toolsidas Junior was my passion project to pay tribute to my father who was played by Rajiv Kapoor on Sadly, my father, as well as Mr. Rajiv, passed away before the film was released, but I’m sure it was their blessings that led to this win today.
Toolsidas Junior lead actor Varun Buddhadev also earned the jury’s special mention for his performance. The film tells the story of a snooker champion (Rajiv Kapoor), who succumbs to alcohol addiction and fails to win a trophy. His son, Toolsidas Junior, is determined to make his family name shine again on the winner’s board and undertook special coaching by former Indian champion (Sanjay Dutt) to bring the trophy back to the Snooker Championship. The film is inspired by Mridul’s life story and Rajiv’s character is loosely based on his own father.
The film is produced by Ashutosh Gowariker. The win came more than two decades after his first National Award for his directing Lagaan, another sports drama. Celebrating the occasion, he said: “It is a great honor to receive the coveted award again. What makes it even more special is that Toolsidas Junior has been my very first production company. We at AGPPL have taken the plunge to create a platform for young and talented directors to tell their story, and I am very pleased to see such fruits of our efforts.The sports genre has always been close to my heart, after Lagaan, now Toolsidas has brought me the highest credit for yet another sports drama.”
The film was supported by Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Ashutosh Gowariker and Sunita Gowariker. It was streamed on Netflix in March 2022 after a TV premiere on Sony Max two days earlier.