National awards have been a part of Indian Cinema since 1953. And these have their essence as the Ministry of Information And Broadcasting, unlike other awards, also honours different language films at the ceremony. Irrespective of the language, movies are nominated under various categories, and the best one is selected out of the lot. 15th National Award ceremony was different from the previous ones. A lot of changes were introduced in that year. Some changes are as, for the first time in Indian Film Industry, short films were also recognised and introduced in a different category at an Award Function.
Also, a total of 7 new awards some the sunlight of the day. Some of them are Best Education, Best Instructional, Best Promotional film, etc. But Certificate of Merit was removed from National awards, and 15th award ceremony was the first event after discontinuation. All the flicks released in the year 1967 and certified by censor board automatically get eligible for these awards. The 15th National Awards night was organised at Vigyan Bhavan,
New Delhi on 25th November 1968 and the President of India in1968,
Zakir Hussain gave away the awards.
Different Jury members are selected for various categories and languages. Bengali film, ‘Hatey Bazarey’ won the best feature film award and Hindi film ‘Upkar’ being second best in the same category.
Nargis Dutt was awarded the Best Actress award for her film ‘Raat Aur Din.’
Best Actors award was shared by two Bengali actors, Antony Firingee and Chiriyakhana. Veteran singer,
Mahendra Kapoor bagged the best playback singer award for his song ‘Mere Desh Ki Dharti’ from ‘Upkar.’
Back in 1968, Cinematography was divided into two categories, Color and Black & White. Hindi flick ‘Bambai Raat Ki Bahon Mein’ and ‘Hamraaz’ won Cinematography (Black & White) and Cinematography (Color) respectively. Regional awards winners are as follows : ‘
Arundhati’ in Oriya, ‘Sutlej De Kande’ in Punjabi, and ‘Santh Wahate Krishnamai’ in Marathi Some other winner names are ‘ Bangarada Hoovu’ in Kannada, ‘Humraaz’ in Hindi, ‘Arogya Niketan’ in Bengali, ‘
Sudigundalu’ in Telugu, and ‘Aalayam’ in Tamil.
In non- feature category, ‘India’67’ won the best informative documentary award. Best Promotional film Commercial and Non-commercial was awarded to ‘The Brown Diamond’ and ‘Sandesh’ respectively. ‘Inquiry’ managed to bag Best Animated Film award. We all know that if under any category, the jury finds that no movie is good enough to be awarded, award is cancelled under that category. Some of such categories where no award was given in 15th National Awards are Best Children’s Movie, the Best Feature film in English, Assamese and Oriya.