Filmmaker KP Kumaran bags JC Daniel Award, Malayalam cinema's highest honour

Filmmaker KP Kumaran. Photo: Manorama News

Thiruvananthapuram: Renowned filmmaker KP Kumaran was awarded the 2021 JC Daniel Award, the highest honour in Malayalam cinema, for his overall contribution to the film industry.

He was selected by a jury chaired by singer P Jayachandran. The award comprises of a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh and a plaque.

The jury said "KP Kumaran is a director who has infused a new visual language and emotion into Malayalam cinema through his 50-year-long film career".

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will present the award to Kumaran at the Kerala State Film Awards ceremony on August 3.

Kumaran's foray into the Malayalam film industry was as the co-writer and co-screenwriter of Swayamvaram, which was helmed by noted filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan.

Swayamvaram went on to win four national awards.

Kumaran's first directorial venture was Athithi. His major films include Rugmini (winner of the 1989 National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Malayalam), Thenthulli, Laxmivijayam and Thottam.

His last film, Akasha Gopuram, is based on Henrik Ibsen's play The Master Builder. It won the State and National Awards.

Another film, Gramavrikshathile Kuyil, which he wrote and directed at the age of 84 is slated for release this year. It is based on the life of renowned poet Kumaranashan.

Malayalam cinema was gifted two of its best actresses by way of Kumaran's films - Remya Krishnan (Neram Pularumbol, 1985) and Nithya Menon (Akasha Gopuram, 2007).

Kumaran is also the recipient of the ROCK Award for his 100-second short film released in 1972.

Kumaran was born in 1937 in Kuthuparamba, Kannur. After high school education, he took the PSC test and entered government service as a clerk in the transport department.

Later, he joined LIC where he remained until his resignation in 1975. His wife Shantamma Pillai retired as Additional Director in Tourism Department.

They have three children - Manu, Shambhu Kumaran (IFS) and Manisha.

JC Daniel Award is Kerala's highest award in Malayalam cinema. It is presented annually by the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy, a non-profit institution under the Department of Cultural Affairs.

Instituted in 1992, the award is given to honour the recipients for their outstanding contribution to Malayalam cinema.

The award was created to commemorate the contribution of Indian filmmaker JC Daniel, who is often regarded as the father of Malayalam cinema.

Since its inception, the award has been bestowed on 27 individuals. Film distributor and producer TE Vasudevan was its first recipient. Singer P Jayachandran was the latest recipient - 2020.

The 2021 jury included singer P Jayachandran, director Sibi Malayil, film academy chairman Ranjith, and Rani George, the principal secretary of the Department of Cultural Affairs.

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