Mumbai, March 23: Distinguished Indian actor Vikram Gokhale, who recently won his first National Award in a career of 50 years, says he never tried for awards but admits this honour is "different".
He won the best actor award for his performance in Marathi film "Anumati", and shares the honour with Irrfan, who won it for "Paan Singh Tomar".
Vikram Gokhale has acted in every medium - from theatre to television to cinema in at least two major languages - Marathi and Hindi.
In the midst of connecting with his grandchildren abroad and attending to numerous congratulatory calls, Vikram looks back with affection at his career.
"Oh, it's a very important award. There are so many awards. Popular awards have their own place. But a National Award is different. Right now my entire family is away. But my home is flooded with congratulations. I am unable to attend to them all because I'm shooting from morning till evening for a serial 'Ghar Aaja Pardesi' featuring my 'Hum...Dil De Chuke Sanam' co-star Smita Jaykar," he said.
Post the announcement of the award earlier this week, the illustrious actor received a surprise.
"I got a bouquet and a beautiful letter from Mr.Amitabh Bachchan and he said, 'Vikram yeh toh bahot pehle milna chhaiye tha (You should have got this much earlier).' Well, what can I say to that? Honestly, I never thought that one day I'd be recognised on a national level. I am not being modest. I am just being realistic.
"I've a book in my library called 'The History and Politics Of The Oscars'. If there can be politics is Oscars, one can imagine what goes on here. Heaven knows how awards are decided in this country. Given the fact that I've never tried for awards, I'm happy," he added.
He says his "best is yet to come", but "as far as Marathi cinema is concerned, 'Anumati' is my best performance to date".
One of Vikram's most popular role was that of Aishwarya Rai's disciplined musician-father in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Hum...Dil De Chuke Sanam".
For now, he has one unfulfilled dream. "I want to play a blind old man. The only convincing performance of a blind man I've seen in our films is Naseeruddin Shah in 'Sparsh'."
The actor-director even plans to direct an international project to be shot in India and abroad.