At the 65th National Film Awards announced on Friday, while Malayalam films and its technicians brought recognition to the state in terms of the number of awards they received, what is also remarkable is how the industry and its films left a lasting impression on the minds of the juries.
The Dileesh Pothan directed Thondimuthalum Drikshakshiyum bagged several laurels; apart from being adjudged the Best Malayalam film, Fahadh Faasil got the Best Supporting Actor award for his role in the film while Sajeev Pazhoor won Best Screenplay for the film.
Popular and critically-acclaimed film Take Off won the special jury award for Best Film while its lead actor, Parvathy, who was touted to be a contender for the Best Actress award, got a special mention instead. Director Jayaraj bagged the award for Best Director for his 2017 film Bhayanakam.
Chairman of the jury, Shekhar Kapoor, lauded Malayalam cinema’s standard and quality of acting.
Announcing the special mention jury awards for Take Off, Shekhar said: “Now next is a film I know is very popular, and everybody loves it and it is Take Off in Malayalam. Most of you will know the film and it was specially given for the performance of Parvathy. It was a huge competition in best actress. After lots of arguments, she didn’t get the award so we have given her a special mention.”
Thondimuthalum Drikshakshiyum also received a lot of appreciation from the jury.
“It’s a brilliant film, it’s a beautiful film and brilliant performances, and not only that, it starts you thinking the film is about something… a simple film; love story of husband wife, they elope, people do that. But gradually that changes, she loses a chain in the bus, somebody snatches it off her neck and that chain is expensive and she had left home with that one chain. She goes to the police station to find the chain. That’s when the chain of events starts. In the end, you are left terrorised. It’s a brilliant film, brilliant screenplay, great performances,” Shekhar said.
Although he initially mispronounced the name of the film, Shekhar quickly explained: “When we used to discuss about the film, we use to call it the chain snatcher, because every time someone or the other would make mistakes in pronouncing it.”
Shekhar went on to narrate his experience of watching Malayalam films and spoke about how the industry makes films based on stories that are rooted in culture.
“I have to tell you, I will talk to you about a Malayalam film. I have never seen performances like that. You watch any Hindi film, if you watch two Aamir Khan films one after the other, you will know that both are Aamir Khan. I used to watch Malayalam films and halfway through, I used to think that I have seen another film in which this main actor was a wife beater and a rapist and in this one he is a victim. Then I realise it’s the same actor. The standard of performances… some of the Hindi films cannot compete with them, not at the state they are in. Hindi films try hard to be everything. Malayalam film is so rooted, that’s why they are able to do it,” he said.
Aalorukkam bagged the award for Best Film on Social Issues, and the jury said that the performance of Indrans, who played the lead role in the film, had been considered for the Best Actor award. Indrans won the Best Actor award in the Kerala State Film Awards that were announced last month.