Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala State Awards were announced recently, with many surprise winners making it to the list. However, controversies too followed as soon as this year’s winners were announced. The Chalachitra Academy authorities said that the movies 'Bhootakalam’ and ‘Anantharam’, which were rejected by the primary jury were recalled for the final rounds after all the members of the final jury had written to them. Movies like ‘Minnal Murali’ and ‘Home’ weren’t considered the best film with popular appeal and aesthetic value as they were released on OTT platforms. There aren’t any specific guidelines for this in award determination. However, such movies were considered for other categories. Movies like ‘Joji’ and ‘Minnal Murali’ won awards in significant categories.
Any movie that was rejected by the primary jury could be recalled if four members of the final jury demanded it in writing. This would happen if the final jury thinks that rejected movie could be considered for an award in any category. ‘Bhoothakaalam’ was recalled pointing out two factors including Revathy’s amazing performance in it. Meanwhile, ‘Anantharam’ was recalled after the jury felt that the film deserves an award in the transgender category.
The award for best film with popular appeal and aesthetic value is still determined based on the number of audiences who watch the movie in the theatres. Meanwhile, the jury has appealed to the government to consider movies that are released on OTT platforms for this award. However, it isn’t clear whether it is possible to get an accurate number of viewers who have watched the movies on OTT platforms.
Not the decision of the Academy: Ranjith
Chalachitra Academy chairman Ranjith said that he had personally liked ‘Home’ but he cannot express his personal interests during awards determination. He added that neither he nor the academy has any role in determining the state awards. “I really liked Indrans’ performance in ‘Home’. Similarly, ‘Bheemante Vazhi’ is another movie that I really enjoyed. The winners were chosen by jury members who had no close relation with Malayalam cinema. They have no political affinities,” said Ranjith.
The chairman said that he knew about the winners only when he got the list after the awards were decided.
My film was overlooked': Priyanandanan
Former national award winner Prinandanan alleged that his movies, that were selected to the final round, weren’t’ exhibited for the final jury. He claimed that the jury members had told him that his movie ‘Dhabari Kyuruvi’ was selected to the final rounds to be considered for the awards. He added that when he asked a final jury member about the film, he replied that the jury didn’t watch it.
Priyanandanan said that he had no issues with the jury for not getting an award. However, the veteran director said that he wanted to know why his film was not exhibited in front of the final jury.
Indrans may have a misunderstanding: Saji Cherian
Minister for Culture Saji Cherian said that veteran actor Indrans may have reacted due to a misunderstanding. He added that it was not up to him to say whether a film is good or bad. The jury was given total freedom in determining the awards. The minister noted that the jury had told him that they had watched all the movies. Meanwhile, he confirmed that the jury had watched the movie ‘Home’.
Movies that were released on OTT platforms too were considered for the awards. The Minister said that the jury chairman should say why the movies, that were rejected in the first round, were considered for the final round. The names of the winners were handed over to him in sealed covers just before announcing the awards.
When asked about Congress workers mocking the decision to give the best actor award to Joju George, the minister said that “the award could be given only to the artists who acted’. He then took a jibe at them saying that Congress workers too would be considered if they act well. He ridiculed that the government would even consider appointing a special jury for that. The decision to honour Joju with the best actor award was widely criticised on social media saying that an actor shouldn’t just act well or show his affinity to the Left Front, but he should shower profanities at an opposition rally to be considered for the best actor award.