THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Making it seem like the revenge of the outcast, films that had failed to get an entry to theatres last year have won big at the 48th Kerala State Film Awards. ‘Ottamurivelicham’, made by debutant Rahul Riji Nair and is now doing the festival rounds, was adjudged the best feature film. And Lijo Jose Pellissery, the maker of ‘Ee Ma Yau’ that gave ‘Ottamurivelicham’ the stiffest competition, was chosen as the best director. Ee Ma Yau, though made by a commercially viable filmmaker, could not make it to the theatres. ‘Aedan’, another off-beat film that mainstream exhibition centres shunned, was picked as the second best film; the film had earlier won for Sanju Surendran the Rajatha Chakoram for the best debut director at the last IFFK.
As though to make amends for historical wrongs, a legend, never before acknowledged, was awarded, and a veteran, habitually ignored, was finally crowned. M.K. Arjunan, a key member of the golden era of Malayalam cinema music and now in his 80s, won the state award for best music composer for the first time, for his compositions in Jayaraj’s ‘Bhayanakam’. And the unassuming Indrans, who during the last few years missed the top prize by a whisker, finally emerged the chosen one for his portrayal of a conflicted father who has to accept his son as a daughter in V C Abhilash’s ‘Alorukkam’. Pauly Valsan, another veteran who has been for the last quarter century doing largely insignificant roles and therefore not generally recognised by her name, finally got her moment under the sun by bagging the best character actor in a female role for ‘Ee Ma Yau’.
‘Aeden’, along with ‘Take Off’, turned out to be the most decorated film of 2017, bagging the best cinematographer (Manesh Madhavan), best adapted screenplay (S. Hareesh and Sanju Surendran), and best sound mixing (Pramod Thomas) awards. No mainstream film, except ‘Take Off’, managed to win a big award. Parvathy was chosen the best actor for her work in the film, her second after she won in 2016 for ‘Charlie’ and ‘Ennu Ninte Moideen’. Unlike Indrans, whose choice was unanimous, Paravathy’s choice was not an easy one. Vineetha Koshy who played the abused wife in ‘Ottamurivelicham’ was said to be “equally good”. Ms Koshy won a special jury award.
The maker of Take Off, Mahesh Narayanan, was picked as the best debutant director. The film also won the best background score (Gopi Sundar), best art director (Santhosh Raman), and best make-up man (Ranjith Ambady) awards. Ranjan Pramod’s ‘Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu’ was chosen as the popular film with aesthetic appeal. Dileesh Pothen’s ‘Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum’, a strong contender for the popular award, had to be content with the best original screenplay prize for Sajeev Pazhoor, and Alencier’s best character actor award. The best editor award was bagged by Appu Bhattathiri for his work in ‘Ottamurivelicham and ‘Veeram’ (Jayaraj). Though the announcement was made on Women’s Day, the awards were a major let down for the fairer sex. More than half the films considered for awards this year were made by debutants, but of this only one was made by a woman....