Zakariya Mohammed, the director of Malayalam film Sudani from Nigera, has been declared the winner of Chalachitra Film Society's Aravindan Award for Best Debut Director, 2018.
The jury included Shyamaprasad, Krishnanunni, Baiju Chandran and VK Narayanan. They found that Zakariya excelled in introducing, visualising and expressing the concept through his first film. He succeeded in reinstating faith in humanity by telling the story of a village's football team through humour, empathy, drama and warmth, the jury said. The jury also observed that the director was able to present an international theme as a story that is happening near us, making his film a comforting touch of love in a world where people are getting disconnected from each other every day.
Sudani from Nigeria told the story of a man (Soubin Shahir) who manages a village football team, and brings a player from Nigeria (Samuel Abiola Robinson). The villagers, who insist on calling him Sudani (someone from Sudan), welcome him into their midst, even as he has a bad fall and is bedridden for days. Two older women (Savithri and Sarassa) playing mother roles in the film had captured the hearts of movie-goers, through their very natural and innocent portrayals of village women full of love and care for everyone and especially for the strange foreigner wounded and lying in one of their homes.
Twenty-five films of different Indian languages had competed for the Aravindan Award this year. The award consists of Rs 25,000, a certificate of merit and a plaque.
The award is named after G Aravindan, who was a filmmaker, musician and cartoonist. He is considered as one of the pioneers of the parallel cinema movement in Malayalam with films like Uttarayanam, Kanchana Sita,Chidambaram, Oridathu