Unveiling the best of Malayalam cinema: Jury report of Kerala State Film Awards out

Kerala State Film Awards
A total of 154 movies were submitted for screening for the awards. Representative image. Photo: Keralafilm.com

Around 154 films were competing in the 2022 Kerala State Film Awards. There were 8 children's films. And it took 33 days for the Jury to finally arrive at a verdict. In the final round, 49 films, including the recalled films, reached the final stage of judging. The list also includes films by 9 new directors.

There was the usual murmur of protest for not including their favourites this time also. They felt it was unfair to completely ignore films like 'Malikappuram' and 'Jaya Jaya Jaya Hai'. The social media felt the jury overlooked the performances of Devananda in ‘Malikappuram’ and Bindu Panicker in ‘Rorschach’. Now the jury report detailing the qualities of the winners has come out. They have given an explanation behind their selection.

Best film: Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam
Director: Lijo Jose Pellissery
Producer: George Sebastian
(A cash prize of Rs 2 lakh, a trophy, and a citation each will be awarded to the producer and director respectively)

The film raises rational and humanistic questions through a narrative of death, birth, dream, and reality. A film that conveys through inscrutable imageries that borders are first formed in the minds of humans. A stunning visual experience that opens up multi-layered interpretive possibilities through the skilful use of innovative visual language.

Best director: Mahesh Narayanan
Film: Ariyippu
(2 lakh, trophy, and citation)
For the director's excellence in expressing the conflicts experienced by a lower middle-class Malayali couple in North India during the Covid lockdown without resorting to melodrama.
Best second film: Adithattu
Director: Jijo Antony
Producer: Godjo J
(Producer and director get 150000, trophy and citation respectively)

An intense narrative that revolves around the resentment and retaliation of men who came to the sea in search of livelihood. The film explores the primal and wild human instincts from the confines of a boat in the middle of the sea.
Best actor: Mammootty
Film: Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam
(1 lakh, trophy, and citation)

It was a rare and stunning performance in the history of Malayalam cinema. He managed to slip into the duality of two distinctive characters with subtlety and impeccable control over the body language. A genius of a performance in which he could get into the psyche of a Malayalee called James and a Tamilian villager Sundaram and absorb the diverse language and ethnicity of two states with precision.
Best Actress: Vincy Aloysius
Film: Rekha
(1 lakh, trophy, and citation)
For her acting excellence in portraying the regional characteristics, love, and resistance of a village girl in North Kerala with naturalness.
Best supporting actor: PP Kunjikrishnan
Film: Nna Thaan Case Kodu
(50k, trophy, and citation)

For perfecting the role of a Magistrate with unique mannerisms while retaining the seriousness of the court proceedings and at the same time maintaining a sense of humour.
Best supporting actress: Devi Varma
Film: Saudi Vellakka
(50k, trophy, and citation)

For her poignant portrayal as Aysha Rawoothar, an old woman who had to wage a lone battle in court for years for an unintentional mistake she committed.   

Special Jury Mention for Acting: Kunchacko Boban, Alencier
(25k, trophy and citation each)
Kunchacko Boban: For his distinct and subtle portrayal as a small-time thief called Kunnummal Rajeevan settled in the suburbs of North Kerala. He did full justice to one of the most challenging roles of his career.
Alencier: For playing an entitled, sexist, libidinous bedridden old man who spreads hatred and vengeance and craves to get back to life to pursue his sexual desires.

Best children’s film: Pallotti 90s kids
(Rs 15k, trophy and citation for producer, Rs10k, trophy and citation for director)
Producer: Sajid Yahiya
Director: Nithin Radhakrishnan

A moving tale of friendship between two children who face the hardships and poverty in their life together with positivity.
Best debut director: Shahi Kabir
Film: Ilaveezha Poonchira
(Rs 10k, trophy and citation)

A brilliantly executed tale of vengeance, survival, and betrayal of two cops who cohabit in a deserted police wireless station located at an altitude of 3200 feet above sea level.

Best popular film with artistic value: Nna Thaan Case Kodu
Producer: Santosh T Kuruvilla
Director: Ratheesh Balakrishna Poduval
(Rs 10k for producer, trophy, and citation, and Rs 10k for director, trophy, and citation)

The common man’s issues are compassionately tackled in this satire that focuses on a serious social issue without compromising on its artistic and commercial value.

Best Screenplay (Adapted): Rajesh Kumar R
Film: Oru Thekkan Thallucase
(Rs 50k, trophy and citation)
For brilliantly translating GR Indugopan’s short story, ‘Amminipillai Vettucase’ into the visual language without diluting its essence.
Best screenplay: Ratheesh Balakrishna Poduval
Film: Nna Thaan Case Kodu
(Rs 50k, trophy and citation)

A small issue gets the attention of the system and law of the land and spirals into a serious social issue. He presents it as an entertaining and hilarious satire.

Best child artist (male): Master Da Vinci
Film: Pallotti 90s kids
(Rs 50k, trophy and citation)

For his moving portrayal of Kannan who hails from a poor background but wholeheartedly supports his friend during trying times and sets friendship goals.

Best child artist (Female): Tanmaya Sol A
Film: Vazhakku
(Rs 50k, trophy and citation)
For poignantly portraying the helplessness of a girl trapped in an insecure and conflicted home environment.  

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