File photo of Rajkummar Rao attending the India premiere of Hollywood film ‘Star Wars – The Force Awakens’ in Mumbai, Dec. 23, 2015. (AFP/Getty Images)

“Newton” director Amit V. Masurkar said, April 13, Rajkummar Rao deserved to win a National Award for best actor.

Rao played the title role of a green-horn government clerk who perseveres to conduct fair, free elections Masurkar’s dark comedy on Indian democracy.

“Newton” was named the best Hindi film and a special mention was given to its actor Pankaj Tripathi.

The filmmaker said Rajkummar, who already has a best actor National Award to his credit for “Shahid,” should have been recognized for the work he has done in the year gone by.

“I definitely feel Rajkummar should have been awarded, he has done a brilliant job not only in ‘Newton’ but other films like in ‘Trapped,’ ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi,’ he has done lot of good work this year (2017). And it would have been great if he would have got some award.

“(But) I don’t think he holds such expectations. He is someone who does his work and moves on. He has worked on four-five films after ‘Newton,’” Masurkar told reporters in Mumbai.

Actor Riddhi Sen was named the best actor for his performance in Bengali film “Nagarkirtan” at the 65thNational Film Awards, that were announced April 13.

He said Rajkummar is elated over how “Newton” performed at the awards.

“Yes. He is a very happy. He is a very positive person. He has won National award before. For us, it is the first time,” the filmmaker said.

On “Newton” emerging victorious, Masurkar said, “It feels very good. We are very happy that ‘Newton’ got the best Hindi film award, thank you jury and people for the love and the whole team.”

The director is happy that Tripathi received a special mention.

“We are happy that Pankaj ji got special mention. I did speak to them they all are very happy. Both Rajkummar and him are busy shooting. I wish they were here.”

“Newton” was also India’s official entry to this year’s Academy Awards in the best foreign language film category. It did not, however, make it to the shortlist.