Revathi, Biju Menon, Joju George win 52nd Kerala State Film Awards

‘Aavasavyuham’, which tells the story of an environmental disaster, won the best film award, while Dileesh Pothan won the best director for ‘Joji’. ‘Minnal Murali’, ‘Churuli’ and ‘Hridayam’ have also won multiple awards.

Hushing stereotypes, middle-aged mothers and elderly fathers prove that they can lead great stories in films and walk quietly away with the braces. Revathi, who has contributed many great characters to Malayalam cinema, has won the Best Actor (Female) award at the 52nd Kerala State Film Awards for playing a mother character so strikingly well in the horror flick Bhoothakaalam. Biju Menon, a 50 something actor who played a mysterious man in his 70s – a seemingly harmless doting father – in Aarkariyam has won the Best Actor (Male) award, along with Joju George, an actor who has consistently delivering meticulous performances. This time, Joju has bagged the award for four different roles – the elderly man rapidly losing his memory in freedomfightthe policeman on the run in Nayattuthe hurting husband in Madhuramand his character in the yet-to-release Thuramukham.

The list of awards, declared without lengthy speeches by Minister for Culture Saji Cherian, had an interesting mix of mainstream films and art house movies, the latter winning for stories and making, while the commercial ventures were appreciated for techniques and popularity. Aavasavyuham, which won recognition at the International Film Festival of Kerala, was announced the best film, with the best script coming from director Krishand, a maker of independent cinema. The film foretells an environmental disaster in which all living beings in the earth become extinct. The best director award went to Dileesh Pothan, who churns out one work of wonder after another every few years and solemnly turns to acting the rest of the time. In 2021, amid COVID-19 restrictions, he created jojianother film with actor Fahadh Faasil in the lead, a loose adaptation of Shakespeare’s macbeth.

Syam Pushkaran, Dileesh’s permanent partner in writing, adapted macbeth for joji and won the award for the same. Joji also brought home the best character award (female) to the much talented Unnimaya Prasad. Best character award (male) was won by Sumesh Moor for Kala.

Read: ‘Joji’ review: Fahadh and Dileesh Pothan deliver a brilliant adaptation of ‘Macbeth’

Hridayam, a romantic comedy with its many songs and three appealing actors, became the most popular film, winning the best music award as well. Hesham Abdul Wahab, a composer who worked his way to the top, had experimented with a mix of genres, even bringing musicians from far-off Istanbul for Hridayam. Sithara Krishnakumar, a versatile voice and a very familiar face in music-related events in Kerala, won the best female playback singer for singing in Kaane Kaaneand Pradeep Kumar received the male singer award for a song in Minnal Murali.

Minnal MuraliMalayalam’s first superhero film and quite a favorite among the masses, won more awards – best visual effects (Andrew), best costume design (Melvi J possibly for giving Tovino Thomas that local superhero look), and best sound mixing (Justin Jose).

Chavittu and Nishiddo won the award for second best film, the Rahman brothers and Tara Ramanujan respectively being the directors. Tara’s film comes as part of a special project launched by the Kerala government to fund films by women filmmakers. The government has also recognized films made by women and transgender persons, announcing a special award for their works. Neha S, who told through her film Antharam the conflicts of a trans woman who moves from a life in the street to being a homemaker, won the special award in this category.

Awards also came in search of churuliwhich stirred a small controversy last year with its generous use of profanities among the characters found in a strange and fantastic land. Madhu Neelakantan, capturing this strange land in all its mystery, won the best cinematography award. Ranganath Ravi, who designed the sound of churuliwon an award too.

Among other major awards, the best story went to Shahi Khabeer for telling the plight of three police officials in Nayattu. The same film won best editing – the joint work of Mahesh Narayanan and Rajesh Rajendran. Master Adithyan and Sneha Anu won best child actor awards for Niraye Thathakal Ulla Maram and Thala respectively. The best new director award was won by Krishnendu Kalash for Prappada.

Also read: Bhoothakaalam review: This Revathy-Shane Nigam film is a tightly scripted horror ride


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