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Rajkummar Rao, director Sanal K Sasidharan nominated for Asia Pacific Screen awards

Rao will be vying for the Best Actor award for Newton while Sanal Kumar has been nominated for Achievement in Directing for his film Sexy Durga.


Actor Rajkummar Rao, Sexy Durga director Sanal Kumar Sasidharan, and Manipuri film Lady Of The Lake are representing India in the nominations list for the 11th Asia Pacific Screen awards (APSA).

Rao's name features in the category Best Performance by an Actor for his role in Newton (2017). The film, India's entry to the foreign-language Oscar next year, has also been nominated for Best Screenplay for Amit V Masurkar and Mayank Tewari.

"Happy to share that I have been nominated for the best performance by an actor in the prestigious Asia Pacific Screen awards for Newton, also Best Screenplay," Rao tweeted.

As for Sanal Kumar, he is excited about getting an Achievement in Directing nomination for his movie Sexy Durga. The film has been in the news in India as it was refused a certification exemption to be screened at the 19th MAMI Mumbai Film Festival, but the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) gave it a U/A certificate after 21 audio mutes and a title change to S Durga for theatrical release.

For the director, the APSA nomination is reason to cheer. "This is something special! Great news for Sexy Durga. Great news for the humble indie film movement in Malayalam," he wrote on Facebook.

Regional Indian cinema also has a reason to celebrate. Shehnad Jalal has been nominated in the Achievement in Cinematography category for Lady Of The Lake (Loktak Lairambee).

The film, directed by Haobam Paban Kumar, is part of the prestigious APSA Cultural Diversity award, which is under the patronage of UNECSO. The award represents the shared common goals of APSA and UNESCO to promote diversity of cultural expression and raise awareness of the value of culture at local, national and international levels.

All the nominations were drawn from 298 films that were in competition at APSA. The nominees were decided by the international nominations council from 47 Asia Pacific countries and areas — the largest country spread to date, which for the first time featured a film from Oman.

"In 2017, 26% of the films in competition were directed by women and 51% were directed by first- or second-time filmmakers," read a statement on the official APSA website.