The 65th National Awards has honoured 19-year-old actor Riddhi Sen for his performance as a transgender in Kaushik Ganguly's Nagarkirtan. No stranger to awards and recognition even at this young age, Riddhi is overjoyed at being the youngest actor to win the National Award in the Best Actor category.
"I don't know if I am the youngest, but I must be the happiest! I was shooting for a film when I was informed that I had won a National Award. So I celebrated in the best way possible - by working. My mother always taught me that hard work is the only means to achieving one's ambitions," says Riddhi.
Riddhi, who is born in a family of theatre and film actors, started his acting career when he was 11. "I was doing theatre in my father (stage and film actor Kaushik Sen)'s theatre group (Swapanasandhani) from long before that." At 15, Riddhi was honoured with the West Bengal government's prestigious award - the Mahanayak Samman - for his performance in Open Tee Bioscope. Riddhi rejected the honour on political grounds. Isn't he too young to be mixing art with politics? "I don't agree, politics can never be separated from art in our country, no matter what an actor's age" he replied.
About his National Award-winning part in Nagarkirtan, Riddhi says, "Not for a moment did I consider rejecting the part just because it was unconventional. What is the point of being an actor if you don't dive into personalities that are unknown to you?" He played the transgender in Nagarkirtan as a woman rather than an unfinished woman.