National Awards 2018: Tracing Mollywood’s clean sweep and KJ Yesudas’ unrivaled record

Surendhar MK

Apr 13, 2018 17:36:32 IST

The 65th National Film Awards for the year 2017 were announced earlier today by the jury headed by director Shekhar Kapur, who showered lavish praise on the growth and domination of regional cinema and also strongly advocated the inclusion of more women in the panel next year.

The most notable milestones for southern cinema this year include the domination of Malayalam film industry – a record nine awards in the main feature film category – Oscar award-winning composer AR Rahman eclipsing Maestro’s Ilaiyaraja record and veteran playback singer KJ Yesudas bagging his eighth award after 25 years.


Yesudas. Image from News 18.

In the main feature film section which comprises of 37 awards and 29 categories – excluding the individual Best Feature Film awards for regional languages – the richly deserving Mollywood leads the pack with the lion's share of nine awards, followed by Bollywood’s six, Bengali industry’s four which shares its place with the surprise entrant in Assamese with four honors.

Also read: National Film Awards 2018 complete winners list: Sridevi named Best Actress; Newton is Best Hindi Film

For an industry which has been consistently churning out path-breaking yet simple films – interspersed with rooted stories – at regular intervals, Mollywood has made the right noise and fetched its due recognition this year.

Director Dileesh Pothan’s highly-celebrated sophomore drama Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum bagged two awards including the Best Supporting Actor for Fahadh Faasil (his first national award) and Best Original Screenplay for Sajeev Pazhoor. The film also won the Best Feature Film for Malayalam in the regional category, taking its total count to three. It must be noted that Dileesh’s directorial debut Maheshinte Prathikaram also won two awards last year including Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Regional Film in Malayalam. Fahadh Faasil was a strong contender on paper for the Best Actor category last year, which was secured by Akshay Kumar for Rustom, eventually leading to a social media furore for the jury’s – headed by director Priyadarshan - debatable choice.

Another notable award was the Special Mention for actress Parvathy for her sterling performance as Sameera in Mahesh Narayan-directed survival thriller Take Off, which also earned Santhosh Raman a Best Production Design award for the film’s realistic set pieces. Jury head Shekhar Kapur also revealed how Parvathy emerged as strong competition for Sridevi, who has been posthumously conferred the Best Actress award for the Hindi thriller Mom.

Multiple national award-winning ace Malayalam filmmaker Jayaraj took home two awards including the Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Director for his period drama Bhayanakam. Another main category secured by Bhayanakam includes the Best Cinematography award for Nikhil S Praveen.

Telugu cinema grabbed three honors in technical categories for SS Rajamouli’s globe-trotting blockbuster Baahubali: The Conclusion including the Best Action Direction – which will be shared by King Solomon, Lee Whittaker and the Thailand-based Kecha Khamphakdee – Best Special Effects for RC Kamalakannan and Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment. Out of the 23 awards granted so far for Best Special Effects, Tamil and Telugu film industries have won ten and five respectively, while Bollywood stands at seven. Historically, 70% of the category is dominated by Tamil and Telugu with directors Shankar and Rajamouli contributing with six and four films each.

Tamil cinema, which delivered a handful of brilliant films last year including Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru, Aramm, Vikram Vedha, and Taramani to name a few, walked away with mostly empty hands – barring AR Rahman’s Best Music Direction for Mani Ratnam’s Kaatru Veliyidai and Shashaa Tirupati’s Best Female Playback Singer award for the song Vaan from the same film.

AR Rahman also won the Best Background Score award for Sridevi-starrer Mom, making him the only composer with six national awards up his sleeve in the Best Music Direction category. With two awards this year, Rahman has surpassed Ilaiyaraja’s record of five wins which includes two Best Background Score awards for Pazhassi Raja and Thaarai Thappattai.

25 years after his last national award in 1993, veteran singer KJ Yesudas continued his unrivaled record by winning the Best Male Playback Singer award for the song Poy Maranja Kalam composed by Ramesh Narayan for the Malayalam film Viswasapoorvam Mansoor. Now, Yesudas holds the coveted feat for being the only singer with eight national awards, followed by SP Balasubrahmanyam who has six wins.

Updated Date: Apr 13, 2018 17:36:32 IST