Every artist gets their recognition when they are bestowed with accolades and fame rightfully. With the growing nature of films and filmmaking merely being a form of money-making, the real craft and the appreciation for the same are being subdued. In the case of Indian films, we see the existence of several award functions, each of them sponsored by big corporate companies. In such award functions, awards are given to each and every guest, only to satisfy their egos and make sure that the corporate heads have a good rapport with the artists. With the National Film Awards, as well as the State Film Awards, being the only justifiable awarding jury, the public has slowly started to understand the true process of grading and awarding films. The Kerala State Film Awards is one such prestigious award function, which the public believes is awarded after extreme scrutiny of the entries. The experienced jury, which consists of legendary filmmakers and artists, go through the entries and declare the winners.
However, I personally felt that a few winners of the Kerala State Film Awards were undeserving. In no particular order, here are five undeserving winners of the Kerala State Film Awards and other alternative entries who deserved the victory.
NB: This article does not intend to spread hate or discredit any artist or technician working in the film industry. This is purely an opinion based article wherein I state my justifications for why few State Award winners were not really deserving of the accolades received.
Dulquer Salmaan adjudged as the Best Actor of 2015 for Charlie
Before @ me, let me make one thing very clear. Dulquer Salmaan is a great charmer and charismatic individual in front of the camera, but not a great ‘actor’. He delivered one great acting performance in Kammatipaadam, but his remaining films worked because of the team associated with the project or the technical aspects. The logic holds the same in his performance in Charlie. The way he brings about a joyful charm and behind the film.
His charisma on-screen is brilliant to watch, but it cannot be credited as great acting, at least not so good to win the State Award for Best Actor. This award was presented to Dulquer Salmaan when we saw some spectacular ‘acting’ performances by several other actors.
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We had Prithviraj continue his dream run with back to back brilliant performances. It is in 2015 wherein he played the role of Havildar Hareendran in Picket 43 and Moideen in Ennu Ninte Moideen, both of which were spectacular acting performances. We also had Jayasurya amazingly portray a Sudhi Vathmeekam in Su Su Sudhi Vathmeekam and Suraj Venjaramoodu in Perariyathavar, which eventually won him a National Award. With such brilliant and superb performances coming out in the same year, it looks like the jury went with the flow of the public’s view and declared Dulquer the winner, which is clearly an undeserving victory.
Dilieep being adjudged the Best Actor of 2011 for Vellaripravinte Changathi
Through makeovers and experimental films, Dilieep rose to stardom. However, his acting in Vellaripravinte Changathi is surely not worthy of winning the State Award for Best Actor. He did indeed give a convincing performance in the film, however, it is the same year we saw some other spectacular performances from artists such as Salim Kumar in Adaminte Makan Abu, Mohanlal in Pranayam and Jayasurya in Beautiful.
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All these three actors put forth such memorable and natural performances, which are still afresh in our minds. Salim Kumar, who we have always loved as the comic relief in the ’90s stunned us with such an effective character role. It eventually fetched him a National Award. Mohanlal gave his last memorable acting performance in Pranayam, but sadly didn’t really please the jury. Jayasurya, who we know as a perfectionist with his roles, rediscovered the actor in him through Beautiful. However, these acting performances went under the radar and weren’t considered by the jury, who went on to award Dileep with the Best Actor.
Alencier being adjudged the Best Character Actor of 2017 for Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum
Alencier is indeed a fantastic actor who can make each of his characters memorable. However, I always question myself whether this State Award victory of his was deserving or not. My answer is no.
He did do a great job in the film, but it definitely was not worthy of a State Award victory. Suraj Venjaramoodu should have received the award as he put forth an outstanding performance. We also saw Nivin Pauly portray characters in different timelines with absolute ease in the Siddharth Siva directorial, Sakhavu.
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2017 was also the year where we saw Murali Gopy play the role of Mahashay Bhagavan in the underrated Tiyaan. All three of these performers showcased how intense character roles can be portrayed with ease. Sadly, these weren’t good enough for the jury of the year.
Nivin Pauly’s acting performance in Sakhavu and Murali Gopy’s performance in Tiyaan is least talked about, but are some spectacular acting performances in their career. Suraj Venjaramoodu’s performance in Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum too was worthy of being awarded. Alencier is surely a talented actor who is worthy of accolades, but definitely not the title of Best Character Actor of 2017.
Mamta Mohandas being adjudged the Second Best Actress of 2010 for Kadha Thudarunnu
Mamta is a talented actress who can single-handedly make the film run. But if you ask me whether her performance in Kadha Thudarunnu is worthy of a State Award, I will say no.
She indeed did justice to the role by bringing in nuances to the role, when it went through vulnerable situations in the film. But, the sense of naturality didn’t really strike me as a viewer of the performance. Though she had not become a seasoned actress at that time, she did a good job in the film. But it definitely wasn’t worthy of a State Award.
It is in the same year we saw Ann Augustine, the daughter of late veteran actor Augustine, make her acting debut in Lal Jose’s Elsamma Enna Aankutty. She put forth such a strong and memorable acting performance, which was unexpected from an artist who is making her debut. If in a debut role she could do such wonders, it is with no doubt we can say that she has the capability to offer several memorable and acclaimed performances in the future. In my opinion, Ann Augustine surely deserved the State Award for Second Best Actress.
Joy Mathew winning the Kerala State Film Award in 2018 for the Best Story for Uncle
2018 was a year where Mollywood saw several brilliant films. When the jury finalised the State Awards, we all had a lot of hopes for several films to win the award for Best Story. However, to all our surprise, Joy Mathew’s story for Uncle won the accolade. Personally, this was a big surprise because I still remember having mixed feelings about the film.
In 2018, we saw some finely created stories by Ranjit Sankar in Njan Marykutty, PF Mathews for Ee Ma Yau and Shahi Kabir for Joseph. Each of these films had a rooted and realistic story at hand, which entertained and made viewers put on their thinking caps. Each of these films too dealt with social issues or the realistic portrayal of a community.
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Shahi Kabir’s debut script was such an engaging thriller that film viewers across India praised it. Ee Ma Yau too falls in the same category, which offered a raw and but wrenching cinematic experience. Njan Marykutty took the risky yet important step of depicting transgender individuals and their hardships. The members of the community themselves praised the movie. The jury overlooked these outstanding stories and awarded Joy Mathew’s Uncle with the Kerala State Film Award for Best Story, which is surely an undeserving victory.
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These are a few of the undeserving winners of the Kerala State Film Awards. Each of these undeserving winners had several capable winners as the competitors, but the jury overlooked all of them. We definitely need close scrutiny of the entries. Now, there are some spectacular films that have come out and the jury is going to have a tough time scrutinizing the entries. Let’s hope that the jury assesses each entry carefully and give us the deserving winners only.