Toolsidas Junior director dedicates National Film Award win to late Rajiv Kapoor

Director Mridul Toolidas’ film Toolidas Junior on Friday won the Best Hindi Film award at the 68th National Film Awards. Backed by Ashutosh Gowariker, the sports film is based on the director’s real-life story and revolves around his childhood story with his father. This was Rajiv Kapoor’s last onscreen appearance before his death. Responding to the win, Mridul dedicated the award to his late father and Rajiv Kapoor. (Also read: Toulidas Jr director recalls that he wanted his father and Rajeev Kapoor to watch the film together,

Mridul said in a statement, “I cannot imagine a greater tribute to both my real and reel father, as today we have won this award. Toulidas Jr. was my passion project to pay tribute to my father, whom Rajiv Kapoor played the screen. Unfortunately, my father, as well as Rajeev sir, passed away before the film’s release, however, I am sure it was his blessings that resulted in this victory today.”

Toulidas Jr.’s lead actor Varun Buddhadev also earned a special mention from the jury for his performance. The film tells the story of a snooker champion (Rajeev Kapoor), who succumbs to alcohol addiction and fails to win a trophy. Determined to once again make his family name shine on the winner’s board, his son, Toulidas Jr. takes special coaching by former Indian champion (Sanjay Dutt) to bring back the trophy in 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 comes more than two decades after his first National Award for Lagaan, another sports drama film, directed by him. Celebrating the occasion, he said, “It is a great honor to be conferred with the prestigious award once again. What makes it even more special is that Toulidas Junior is my first ever production venture. We at AGPPL , have resolved to make one. A platform for young and talented directors to tell their stories, and I am extremely happy to see such fruits of our efforts. The game genre has always been dear to my heart, after Lagaan , Now Toulidas has brought me the highest honor for 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.

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