Suraj Venjaramoodu won the Best Actor Award, while Fahadh Faasil picked up the award for the Best Character Actor at the 50th Kerala State Film Awards announced on Tuesday.
But this is not the first time that both actors have made it to the prestigious list of State Film Award winners. When Fahadh won the Best Actor Award for the first time in 2013, Suraj was adjudged the Best Comedian. And fast forward to 2020, Suraj has elevated himself to the league of best actors, and Fahadh continues to hold people’s attention with his brilliant performances.
A flashback to 2013
Fahadh won the Best Actor Award for the first time for the portrayal of varied characters in 'Artist' and 'North 24 Kaatham' in 2013.
Suraj was, meanwhile, sending the audiences into fits of laughter. And he secured the Award for the Best Comedian for his performances in 'Daivathinte Swantham Cleetus' and 'Pullipulikalum Aattinkuttiyum'. This was the third time that Suraj had won the State Award in the category. But since then, the actor in Suraj underwent a major transition. Suraj slowly shed the tag of a comedy actor and started pursuing character-driven roles.
The award partnership
Suraj won the National Film Award for the Best Actor in 2014 for ‘Perariyathavar’. Even when he was a busy comedian, Suraj found time to do character roles. ‘Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum’ in 2018 saw both Fahadh and Suraj vying for perfection. It was sheer joy to watch Fahadh as the conniving thief and Suraj as the common man, who refused to give up. Fahadh won the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor for this movie. This was his first National Award. Suraj too won critical acclaim for his performance.
Not burdened by star status
Fahadh and Suraj have been in the forefront of new-age actors in Malayalam cinema, ushering in change. They were able to achieve this as they refused to be moulded into ‘star material’. They are conscious of the need to do character roles and have been able to break the hero stereotypes in Malayalam films. Such nuanced performances, without the burden of any star power, have been the hallmark of these actors.
Both Fahadh and Suraj were credited with several such performances in the past year. And they have been rightfully honoured by the Kerala State Film Awards.
Fahadh's Shammi, the scheming villain of ‘Kumbalangi Nights’, commanded the full attention of the audience. Suraj's moving performances as a lonely, elderly man in ‘Android Kunjappan Ver 5.25’ and that of a deaf-and-mute person in ‘Vikrithi’ had struck a chord with the people.
And the audience of Malayalam cinema were only too happy to applaud as their favourite actors walked away with the awards.