Directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia, the film saw Irrfan playing Paan Singh Tomar, a former national steeplechase champion-turned-bandit.
“I thought I should have got it for ‘Haasil’, which was my first film with Tigmanshu Dhulia. Then I thought I’d get it for Mira Nair’s ‘The Namesake’. So it has been a fairly lengthy time-span of disappointments,” said Irrfan.
Irrfan is happy to share the National Award for the best actor with Vikram Gokhale.
“In fact, actress Usha Jadhav, who won the National Award for best actress, messaged to say how honoured she was to be part of the awards with me. I feel the National Awards are important, as they still have a credibility denied to many of the popular awards. Yes, I feel getting a National Award is prestigious.”
More than himself, Irrfan is pleased for his director and for the people who wanted him to get nationally honoured for PST.
“More than myself I am happy for Tigmanshu,” said Irrfan who noticed an unusual public participation in the collective desire that he win.
“I was amazed at how passionately people wanted me to get the National Award for ‘Paan Singh Tomar’. It was almost like a public campaign. Everyone took it personally. And somewhere when I got the honour, they were relieved more than overjoyed. If I had not won it, I think people would have seen it as another indication of the imminent collapse of the ‘system’. In my victory, they feel vindicated,” he said.