Sudani from Nigeria Zakariya Mohammed's profoundly uplifting film on love, compassion and humanity that goes beyond borders and boundaries, reaped a rich harvest at the 49th Kerala State Awards. It fetched Zakariya and Muhsin Parari the award for Best Script, Zakariya the award for Best Debutante Director, Soubin the Best Actor, and Savithri Sreedharan and Sarassa Balusseri shared the award for Best Character Actor (woman).
Sudani from Nigeria also won the Best Popular Choice film while the award for the best film went to Kanthan, The Lover of Colour. The latter, starring Dayabai, is based on the real life of tribal people of Wayanad.
In Sudani from Nigeria, Soubin played the role of a small football team's manager, and an unhappy son who comes to terms with his mother's second marriage. His layered portrayal and chemistry with Nigerian actor Samuel Abiola Robinson, had a great impact on the audience.
Soubin shared the award for Best Actor with Jayasurya, who won for Captain and Njan Marykutty. In Captain, Jayasurya played the real life character of VP Sathyan, former captain of the Indian football team. In Njan Marykutty, Jayasurya played a trans woman with much conviction, the hard work he put in for the role being obvious to the viewers. For getting Jayasurya to look so comfortable playing a woman, Ronex Xavier won the award for Best Make-up.
Nimisha Sajayan won Best Actor (woman), for Oru Kuprasiddha Payyan and Chola, Sanal Kumar's film which is yet to be released. In Oru Kuprasidha Payyan, Nimisha Sajayan played beautifully the nervous new lawyer fighting for justice for a defenceless labourer falsely accused in a murder case.
Syamaprasad got Best Director for One Sunday, a movie that is yet to be released. Best Children's Film was won by Angu Doore Oru Deshathu. Best Child Actor (female) is Abani Aadi for the movie Panthu, and Best Child Actor (male) is Master Rithun for Appuvinte Sathyanveshanam.
Joju George picked up the award for Best Character Actor (Male) for his thriller Joseph, in which he played a cop, and Chola. The small budget film Joseph won big at the box-office, thanks to Joju's hard-hitting performance.
Joy Mathew won the award for best story for the movie Uncle. The movie is a thriller where a young woman (Karthika Muraleedharan) stranded on the road is offered a ride by her father's dubious friend (Mammootty).
Vishal Bharadwaj won the award for Best Music Director for Venu's Carbon, which had Fahadh in the lead and was about a man who goes in search of treasure. Vishal's background score was a big plus for the film which mixed fantasy with reality. The beautiful visuals also won KU Mohanan the Best Cinematographer award.
Bijibal won the award for Best Background Score for the music of Aami, a biopic on the late writer Kamala Surayya. The movie also won for Shreya Goshal the Best Female Singer award for the song 'Neermathala Poovinullil'. The Best Male Singer award was won by Vijay Yesudas for a song in Joseph.
Special Jury mentions were won by Santhosh Mundoor for his film Pani, and Sanal Kumar Sasidharan for Chola. KPAC Leela won special mention for her role in Roudram 2018.
Lilli, a thriller with a pregnant woman in the centre of it all, won for Sneha M the award for Best Dubbing Artist, for lending her voice for Samyuktha Menon who played the female lead. The Best Dubbing Artist (Male) was won by Shammi Thilakan for lending voice to Prakash Raj in the movie Odiyan.
C Prasanna Sujith who choregraphed the classical dance moves for the film Aravindante Adhidhikal won the award for Best Dance Direction.
The jury was chaired by screenwriter and director Kumar Shahani.