The 50th Kerala state awards were announced recently and the cinema lovers seem to be excited with this year’s honors. They say that the jury has done a fabulous job, analyzing every aspect of the nominated movies perfectly. The unique observations made by the jury about the movies that haven’t reached the audience yet, give a splendid and optimistic idea about the massive transformation that is happening in the Malayalam cinema in terms of visual narrative and themes. Noted writer and jury member Benyamin is thrilled that the audiences have validated their decisions. In a brief interview with Manorama Online, Benyamin speaks about the awards and also about some of the performances that had amazed him.
Kani, Swasika and Suraj shine
Benyamin specifically mentions the movies Biryani and Vasanti which he admits he may have missed in the theaters. He credits the female leads Kani and Swasika for delivering spectacular performances in these films. “They have done justice to their characters and did a fabulous job. Kani played a character that is helpless and bold at the same time. She perfectly portrayed the struggles of a woman in a patriarchal society. There are two shades of emotions for that character at the same time. The same could be said about Swasika’s performance in Vasanti. We could notice a unique sparkle of talent that we haven’t noticed until then. When a character goes through multiple experiences, she could portray it with the perfect variations,” says Benyamin.
The writer recalls that a few movies in which Suraj has acted had been nominated this year. “The audiences have already watched his performances in the theaters. They know how he transforms himself when he does each movie. The jury observed that Suraj had beautifully portrayed a mute character in Vikriti while his performance as an old man in Android Kunjappan was spot on,” notes Benyamin.
Technicalities and awards
Jury member Lathika, a veteran play back singer, was very particular about the songs and the music in the movies. Benyamin says the jury members had suggested songs to be considered for the final round whenever they were watching the films. Finally, these songs were watched again, listened and analyzed to reach a decision. Whenever a jury member raises an objection or expresses doubts or had an opinion, the entire jury watched the songs repeatedly to reach a consensus. Benyamin said that the jury reached the final decisions through long and extensive procedures.
“The songs by Anwar Ali were noticeable. But, there was a technical issue, due to which we couldn’t consider him for the award. He had rejected the award once. There is a problem while considering the works of an artist who has once rejected the award. The jury couldn’t do anything as we have to strictly follow the regulations. Anwar Ali would surely have been considered for the award had it not been for this clause. His name would have been there in the list. However, we couldn’t do anything due to this technicality,” explains Benyamin.