Superstar Suriya on Saturday vowed to "work harder" and continue making good films after his Tamil movie Soorarai Pottru emerged as the big winner at the 68th National Film Awards.

The 2020 Tamil-language drama won five awards, including Best Feature Film, Best Actor for Suriya, Best Actress for Aparrna Balamurali, Best Screenplay for Sudha Kongara and Shalini Usha Nair, and Best Music Direction (Background Music) for GV Prakash Kumar.

‘Heartfelt thanks‘

Suriya, who shared the Best Actor award with Tanhaji – The Unsung Warrior star Ajay Devgn, posted a statement on Twitter and said he is feeling ecstatic about his film winning five National Awards.

"The National Award gives me the motivation to work harder and walk my talk... and give you all good films, now & always," the actor, who turned 47 on Saturday, said. He also thanked his fans and followers for showering love on Soorarai Pottru, inspired by the life of Air Deccan founder Capt GR Gopinath.

"My heartfelt thanks for all the love and good wishes that has reached us and enriched our lives so far… We are ecstatic with the Five National awards for Soorari Pottru. The overwhelming reception for our films, which was released directly on OTT during a pandemic, has made our eyes well up in joy,” the actor said. The National Award recognition is a testimony of director Kongara's "many years of hard work and creative vision of Captain Gopinath’s story", he added.

Suriya also thanked director Vasanth Sai and filmmaker Mani Ratnam for believing in him and giving him his first film Nerukku Ner (1997). “I extend my gratitude to director Vasanth Sai and filmmaker-producer Maniratnam, who placed their faith in my acting abilities and gave me my first film, Nerukku Ner."

The Jai Bhim star gave a shout out to his actor-wife Jyotika for encouraging him to do the film. "My special thanks to my Jyotika, who insisted I should produce & act in Soorarai Pottru. My love and ‘Thank You’ to all those who have encouraged my efforts so far and to my Amma and Appa, Karthi and Brinda, who have supported me always. I dedicate this award to my kids Diya and Dev and to my loving family,” he added.

Suriya also congratulated fellow winner Devgn and all the other National Award recipients.