On expected lines, veteran actors of the Kerala film industry failed to make the grade in the 50th Kerala State Film Awards. The winners were announced on Tuesday by Culture Minister AK Balan.
Balan said that it was very difficult for the jury committee led by ace cinematographer Madhu Ambatt, who had to sit in quarantine for 2 weeks and do the job. "In all 119 films including five children's films competed for the honours and the highlight has been that 71 films were directed by debut directors, which clearly shows that the industry here is doing well," said Balan.
Madhu Ambat, jury head, said that it had been a unanimous decision and the jury was in one mind when it came to the winners list. In fact, movie buffs are happy with the fair and unbiased selection by the jury.
The deserving candidates
The best actor award went to popular comedian and character actor Suraj Venjaramoodu for his roles in 'Android Kunjappen' and 'Vikurthi'. He left seasoned veterans like Mammootty, Mohanlal far behind and also edged out his nearest rival Fahadh Faasil, who had to settle for the best character actor award.
Incidentally, whenever the Left is in office, the award winners are mostly the ones who are no where near the veterans of the industry, be it in acting or in the technical arena. Balan emphasised this point by naming the best actor award winners in the past four years. Vinayakan, Indrans and Soubin Shahir were adjudged best actors in the past years.
The 35-year-old actress and model Kani Kusruti won the best actress award for her role in the film 'Biriyani'. Reports had it that she won over mainstream actresses like Manju Warrier, Parvathy and Anna Ben. “Kani gave a brilliant performance playing with different emotions and multiple expressions,” said jury chairman Madhu Ambat.
A blend of reel and real
Talking about Vasanthi by debutants Shinos Rahman and Sajas Rahman that won the best movie award., Ambat said, “It is a well-made movie blending the stage and life." The movie is inspired from Indira Parthasarathy's play Poovai Porthiya Udalgal.
‘Kenjira’, a film in Paniya language directed by Manoj Kana, won the award for the second best film. Screened at IFFK , the film is about a tribal girl whose dreams of learning is failed by the system.
Among the films that went before the jury was the costliest Malayalam film 'Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham' directed by Priyadarshan. However, he did not have to return empty handed, as his son Siddharth Priyadarshan won a special jury award for special effects.
Lijo Jose Perillasery won the best director award for his film ‘Jellikattu’, which was the perfect blend of art and mainstream cinema.
Even among the musicians, the young singers dominated the award season this year. While Najim Arshad bagged the best singer (male), the best singer (female) went to Madhushree Narayan. Najim won for the song from the Asif Ali-starrer Kettiyolan Ente Malakha and Madhushree won her second State Award for the Best Female Singer through the song ‘Parayaatharike’ from the film ‘Kolambi’. It was indeed a special one for Madhushree as her father, music director Ramesh Narayan, had composed music. The best composer went to Sushin Shyam.
The awards list did not fail to impress when the category of best dubbing artistes were announced. Actor Vineeth who dubbed for actors Vivek Oberoi (Lucifer) and Arjun (Marakkar) won the dubbing artist award in male and evoked the mass sentiments. So was the case with Shruti Ramachandran who won the best dubbing artist award female.
The jury also did not fail to give the right recognition to the film that the audience had most accepted in the year 2019 - Kumbalangi Nights.
‘Kumbalangi Nights’ bagged four honourable awards - Best Film with Popular Appeal and Aesthetic Value, Best Character Actor, Best Art Director, and Best Music Director. It was a proof that the awards reached the right hands.
Similar was the case when the jury gave the special mention to Nivin Pauly for his performance in ‘Moothon’ and Anna Ben for her role in 'Helen' and 'Kumbalangi Nights'.
Before winding up the press meet, Balan made sure to mention about the distribution ceremony as well.
"The awards will be given away at a function to be held here in the last week of December," added Balan.