IIFA Utsavam 2017: Irudhi Suttru, Theri, Charlie And Pulimurugan bag top honours
A year after launching its inaugural edition to commemorate the best of South Indian cinema, IIFA Utsavam 2017 started off with a bang with some of the biggest names in Tamil and Malayalam cinema gracing the awards ceremony on March 28 at Hyderabad.
The awards ceremony was hosted by Rana Daggubati and 'Mirchi' Shiva for the Tamil awards category, whereas Tini Tom and Pearle Maaney did the honours for the Malayalam awards category.
IIFA Utsavam 2017, despite all its grandeur and a stunning stage set up, lacked star power. Except for AR Rahman, Madhavan, Kunchako Boban, Rakul Preet and Hansika, Akhil Akkineni, Sai Dharam Tej and Jayam Ravi, there were no big names at the event. Nagarjuna, who won the award for Best Supporting Actor (Thozha) couldn't attend the event and instead his son Akhil Akkineni collected the award on his behalf.
Even Dulquer gave the award ceremony a miss due to his prior commitments. If this was the case with the stars, everyone was stumped when they saw that some of the films like Naanum Rowdy Dhaan and Charlie, which released in 2015, went on to win some top awards at the ceremony, which was meant to celebrate cinema of 2016. The event which started at least an hour too late went on till 2 AM and it even got the emcees quipping that everyone looks fresh after a long night.
Among the award winners in Tamil cinema, it was Sudha Kongara Prasad's Irudhi Suttru which won top honours and took home awards for Best Film, Best Actor (Madhavan) and Best Actress (Ritika Singh). Speaking at the event soon after winning the award, Madhavan said, "Irudhi Suttru was an important film for me and it gave me a new lease of life in Tamil cinema. When Sudha approached me with the script, I was impressed that I got involved in the production and scripting as well. It was a collaborative process."
On the other hand, Vijay, Samantha starrer Theri won the awards for Best Director (Atlee) and Nainika (Best Supporting Actress). "I never thought I would do an action drama after making my debut with a romantic drama like Raja Rani. And the moment I narrated the story to Vijay, he got so excited that the positivity rubbed on to everyone on the sets - right from his co-stars Samantha, Amy Jackson and Baby Nainika, to the production team. Without him, I wouldn't have bagged this award. I dedicate this award to my wife, who has been a big pillar of support in my life," Atlee said.
This year, veteran director SP Muthuraman was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement award for his outstanding contribution to cinema. Having directed nearly 75 films in Tamil, he has worked with legends like Sivaji Ganesan in his early days, the director was instrumental in shaping the careers of Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan.
The cynosure of all eyes was, however, AR Rahman himself. The Mozart of Madras won the Best Music Composer award for his work in Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada. "It was a pleasure to work with Gautham Menon, Thamarai and Bharathidasan for this album," Rahman said, and soon after that he called Vijay Yesudas on stage to sing 'Avalum Naanum', a hit track from the album.
Latha Rajinikanth, who graced the ceremony, took the opportunity to speak about a Foundation focusing on the needs of children that she and her husband Superstar Rajinikanth have been supporting and urged everyone to take up the cause in their own communities.
When it came to Malayalam cinema, Mohanlal's Pulimurugan took home the Best Film award; whereas Dulquer Salmaan won the Best Actor award for his performance in Charlie. Charlie grabbed few more honours including Best Supporting Actress (Aparna Gopinath) and Best Music Director (Gopi Sundar). Maheshinte Prathikaaram and Oppam bagged other top honours.
The event also saw actors like Akshara Haasan, Catherine Tresa, Nikki Galrani, Amyra Dastur, Kunchacko Boban, Jiiva rock the dance floor, along with the cast of Chennai-28. The audience also got a sneak peek into the world of Jayam Ravi, Sayyeshaa starrer Vanamagan, whose trailer was unveiled at the event, apart from that of Sachin Joshi and Esha Gupta starrer Yaar Ivan.
IIFA Utsavam 2017 is a two-day event and later today, March 29, Telugu and Kannada cinema is going to take the centre stage.