November 19, 2002 
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Devdas, Vivek Oberoi in the race for awards
Earlier known as the V Shantaram Awards, the RACE Awards hailed Ajay Devgan as best actor

Ronjita Kulkarni

Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdas, India's entry to the Oscars in the Best Foreign Film category, is winning a lot of accolades in India too.

At the recent RACE (Rajkamal Academy of Cinematic Excellence) National Awards held November 18 in Mumbai's Tulip Star, Devdas won most of the awards in the Hindi chapter, including Best Film, Best Actress (Aishwarya Rai), Best Director (Bhansali), Best Choreography (Pandit Birju Maharaj, Saroj Khan, Vaibhavi Merchant and Pappu-Malu), Best Music (Ismail Darbar), Best Cinematography (Binod Pradhan) and Best Editor (Bela Saigal).

The Best Actor in the Hindi chapter was given to Ajay Devgan for Company.

Vivek Oberoi won Best Newcomer (Male) Award for Company while Gauri Karnik won Best Newcomer (Female) Award for Sur.

The RACE awards are an improved version of the V Shantaram Awards, founded by legendary filmmaker V Shantaram. RACE consists of seven chapters, five of which are dedicated to the five main languages in which films are produced in India (Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada). There is a chapter for the all other languages of India as also The English Language chapter. The winners in each category will then compete with each other for the RACE National Awards to be held January 11, 2003.

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Each chapter is represented by veterans from the film fraternity across the country like Adoor Gopalakrishnan (Malayalam), Bobby Bedi (English), Rama Naidu (Telugu), Javed Akhtar (Hindi), K S L Swame (Kannada), Valampuri Somanathan (Tamil) and Soumitra Chatterjee (Other Indian languages).

Kiran Shantaram, son of the veteran filmmaker and chairman of RACE claims that RACE aims to further improve the judging process for the V Shantaram Awards by involving veterans from the industry across the country to give it legitimacy and negate regional bias. The first year of the nominations to the RACE awards were held appropriately on V Shantaram's birth anniversary.

A number of films could not be included for the awards as the academic year (June 1, 2001 to July 31, 2002) for the V Shantaram Awards was changed when they became the RACE Awards (November 1, 2001 to October 31, 2002). As a result, films released between June 2002 and November 2002 could not be included.

Some of the Hindi films that were excluded were Aks, Asoka, Lagaan, Dil Chahta Hai and Gadar-Ek Prem Kahani.

Noted film personalities like Ashutosh Gowariker, Shyam Benegal, Gauri Karnik, Bobby Bedi, Bharat Shah, Jackie Shroff and others like former wrestler Dara Singh, columnist Anil Dharkar, photographer Gautam Rajadhyaksha and political figure Smita Thackeray attended the event. Singer and former veejay Rageshwari was hosted the evening.

Some of the winners of the various chapters of the RACE Awards are:

 Hindi Chapter  Winner  Film
 Best Film  Bharat Shah  Devdas
 Best Director  Sanjay Leela Bhansali  Devdas
 Best Actor Male  Ajay Devgan  Company
 Best Actor Female  Aishwarya Rai  Devdas

 Tamil Chapter  Winner  Film
 Best Film  D Pandiyan  Kadal Pokkal
 Best Director  Bharathiraaja  Kadal Pokkal
 Best Actor Male  Kamal Haasan  Pamal S Sambantham
 Best Actor Female  Simran  Pamal S Sambantham

 Malayalam Chapter  Winner  Film
 Best Film  K Madhavan, Latha Kurein Rajeev  Shesham
 Best Director  T K Rajeev Kumar  Shesham
 Best Actor Male  Jayaram  Shesham
 Best Actor Female  Samyukta Verma  Meghamalhar

 Telugu Chapter  Winner  Film
 Best Film  C Ashwini Dutt  Indra
 Best Director  Teja  Jayam
 Best Actor Male  Chiranjeevi  Indra
 Best Actor Female  Sadha  Jayam

 Kannada Chapter  Winner  Film
 Best Film  C P Yogeshwar  Sainika
 Best Director  V Ravichandran  Yekangi
 Best Actor Male  Vishnu Vardhan  Parva
 Best Actor Female  Vishnu Vardhan  Parva

 Other Indian Languages Chapter  Winner  Film
 Best Film  Jagmohan Mundhra, Gaurang Doshi  Bawandar
 Best Director  Jagmohan Mundhra  Bawandar
 Best Actor Male  Raghuvir Yadav  Yathharth
 Best Actor Female  Nandita Das  Bawandar


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