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65th National Film Awards: Mollywood shines, Tamil flicks fizzle out

CHENNAI: The 65th National Film Awards were announced yesterday by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and in contrast to the last few years, when either Bollywood films or those from the South won big, this year’s winners list is a mixed package of talents from across the country.  An Assamese film — Village Rockstars —- bagging the Best Film of the Year award after three decades is an example.

Malayalam films, Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum and Bhayanakam, led the race in the South winning three major awards each. While Jayaraj was awarded the Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay honours for the latter, which also won Best Cinematography, the dark comedy Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum bagged the Best Malayalam film, Best Supporting Actor (Fahadh Faasil) and Best Original Screenplay (Sajeev Pazhoor) awards.

Dileesh Pothan, the director of Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum said, “It’s very encouraging. I feel more responsible now. I have to deliver the same level of quality with my next film too.” A visibly delighted Sajeev Pazhoor, the screenplay writer, said “It feels really great, considering the fact that this is a small film made with many limitations. I hope these awards will make things easier for our team in the future.” Malayalam actor Parvathy’s performance as a kidnapped nurse in Take-Off fetched her a special mention.

The blockbuster Telugu film, Baahubali: The Conclusion, won three awards — Best Special Effects, Best Action Direction, and Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment. Debutant director Sankalp Reddy’s period war film, Ghazi Attack, secured the Best Telugu Film Award. The overjoyed filmmaker said, “I never expected this award. We didn’t make Ghazi with an intention to win the award. As a team, we worked sincerely and tried to give our best for the film. It’s really exciting and the news is still sinking in.”

Hebettu Ranakka, based on the political reservation of women, grabbed the award for the Best Kannada Film. “The film has a universal subject and is an educative film. The very purpose of making this film was to create awareness at a national level,” said  director Nanjunde Gowda.

The only other award for the industry went to lyricist Prahalad, who bagged the Best Lyrics Award for his song Muthu Ratnada Pyate in the film, March 22. “I never expected national recognition, though I got good feedback for the lyrics. It feels so surreal, I am extremely happy,” he said.

AR Rahman won the awards for the Best Music Director (Kaatru Veliyidai) and Best Background Score (Mom). His last National Award was also for a Mani Ratnam film — Kannathil Muthamittal in 2003.
“I think the importance of the role played by a musician/ poet has to increase now. In a world filled with confusion, aggression, we are all triggered by many negative emotions, and it’s poetry and music that can take people back to sanity. I have always believed that a song can inspire a person, that music can stop violence,” the composer said.

Singer Saashaa Tirupati, who won her first National Award for the song Vaan Varuvaan in Kaatru Veliyidai, said, “Rahman sir believed in me when nobody else did. The award isn’t mine; it’s his! I remember how I had goosebumps when he played the tune to me at his studios. Even now, when I sing the song at shows, I get the same feeling. It’s just heavenly.”

Tamil cinema which has figured prominently in the awards list in recent years, having mainly won awards in the Best Feature Film and Best Director categories in the past, failed to impress the committee this year. Cinematographer-turned-director Chezhiyan, whose yet-to-be-theatrically-released drama film, To Let, was a lone winner, and secured the award for Best Tamil Film, said, “A filmmaker can’t make films expecting awards. We just make them, and if our work is good enough, it gets recognition. Simple and realistic films will always get their due. To Let is the best example of this.”

The top acting honours went to the late veteran actor Sridevi, who was named best actress for her performance in Mom, and Bengali actor Ridhi Sen, won the Best Actor Award for his film Nagar Kirtan, which also won the Special Jury, Best Costume, and Best Makeup awards.  (With inputs from Murali Krishna C H, Sajin Shrijith, A Sharadhaa and S Subhakeerthana)

Source: The New Indian Express