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It didn’t take rocket science for us to guess that Dhanush’s K P Karuppu act for Vetri Maaran’s Aadukalam will win him the prestigious national award. So when the 58th national awards were announced earlier this week, it wasn’t surprising to see Aadukalam making a major sweep. In a sense, films from south India stormed into a bastion this year that is usually dominated by Bollywood – or so to say, Hindi movies. In total, Tamil films bagged a total of 12 awards at the national awards this year, overshadowing even the other regional language films - usually an honor reserved for Malayalam or Bengali movies. This victory mainly should be attributed to Vetri Maaran’s Aadukalam that scored as many as 6 awards, including the covetous best director award and for original screenplay. What a relief for creators of original stories when Tamil cinema is bitten by the remake bug.

Endhiran won for Special Effects and Production Design, Thenmerkku Paruvakkatru for lyrics other than best actress for Saranya Ponvannan, Namma Gramam won the Best Supporting Actress award for Sukumari other than Costume Design and Mynaa’s J. Thambi Ramaiah won the Best Supporting Actor award.The Malayalam movie Adaminte Makan Abu is adjudged as the best film. Unusually for this year, there are two actors selected for the best actor award. Dhanush and Salim Kumar, who played the lead in Adaminte Makan Abu, are the best actors. This trend also prevailed in the best actress category; Saranya Ponvannan who won the award for her performance in Thenmerkku Paruvakkatru will share the award with the Marathi actor Mitalee Jagtap Paradhar. Mitalee’s performance in Baboo Band Baaja won her the award. The jury has requested the central government to allocate additional funds for the awards so the best actors / actress did not have to split the prize among themselves.The jury noted that the Malayalam movie Adaminte Makan Abu shows “humanist values freeing matters of faith from the constrictions of narrow parochialism” and that Aadukulam is “a gritty tale of love, jealousy and betrayal in the midst of blood-sport and violence, in the manner of realistic cinema.” Kannada films put up a great show by winning in the categories of children's films and films on environment. As south outshined Bollywood, only Dabangg and Ishqiya proved saving grace, winning two awards.

The jury also seems to be impressed with the line up from south this year with Prahlad Kakkar, eminent jury member and popular advertising filmmaker commenting that “There were some truly great films from the south this year. They bridge the crassness of commercial cinema and the artistry of parallel cinema in a way that is reminiscent of Hollywood.” So there you go. From the horse’s mouth! Now it’s our responsibility to push the envelope – as it may – for more original movies.

In related news, encouraged by the awards it received, the makers of Thenmerku Paruvakkatru have decided to re-release the movie in theatres. Unfortunately, Thenmerku Paruvakkatru went unnoticed when it was released, running only for about a week. Thenmerku Paruvakkatru won three awards, Best Actress, Best Lyrics and Best Tamil Film in the regional language category.

On his victory, Vetri Maaran said that 99% of this award goes to people who worked behind the scenes and only 1% of this success is his. He added that although their faces are not seen, their hard work is what made the movie possible and hence the award.

Here’s wishing all the awardees another great year, making similar quality movies.

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