National Awards 2019: Tamil cinema gets snubbed at the country's prestigious event after 26 years

Surendhar MK

Aug 11, 2019 10:03:11 IST

It has been more than 26 years since Tamil cinema has returned empty-handed from the National Film Awards. While Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada film industries have bagged more than fifteen awards at the 66th National Film Awards announced on Thursday, Tamil cinema's no-show at the country's most significant recognition for cinema surprised everyone.

 National Awards 2019: Tamil cinema gets snubbed at the countrys prestigious event after 26 years

A still from Vada Chennai. Image via Twitter/@sridevisreedhar

A similar occurrence took place in 1992 when Kollywood didn't receive any award in competitive categories at the 39th National Film Awards presented by the Directorate of Film Festivals. Since 1992, Tamil cinema has always received a minimum of two awards and more on all occasions, barring the exception of 51st National Film Awards, when it received only one award in the competitive category (Vikram's Best Actor award for Pithamagan ). There were a few instances when Kollywood dominated the National Film Award scene like the years 2001 and 2011 when Tamil cinema walked home with eleven and thirteen awards respectively in competitive categories.

Producer-distributor and national award-winning writer Dhananjayan Govind told Firstpost, "I feel there's no significant jury representation from Tamil cinema this year and that's the reason nobody fought for it. Last year, I was present. Can you believe Vada Chennai, Pariyerum Perumal, and Peranbu were rejected in the South Panel I itself? Telugu and Kannada panels have done excellent work in getting the deserved recognition."

The fact that the jury overlooked Malayalam star Mammootty's towering performance from Tamil film Peranbu has received a lot of flak on social media. Ayushmann Khurrana for Andhadhun and Vicky Kaushal for Uri: The Surgical Strike have shared the Best Actor award. Ardent fans of Mammootty took to social media and trended various hashtags on Friday to defend their idol. Irked by the barrage of hate mails, jury chairman Rahul Rawail took to his social media page and posted: "Message sent by me, as Chairman of the Jury of 66th NFA, to Mammooty: ‘Hi Mr.Mammoty. There has been a lot of ‘hate mail’, that too extremely nasty, that I have been receiving from your fans, or so called fan clubs, as to why you were not given the National Award as Best Actor for the film ‘Peranbu’. Let me set the record straight: Firstly, NOBODY HAS THE RIGHT TO QUESTION A JURY DECISION. Secondly, your film ‘Peranbu’ had been REJECTED by the Regional Panel and hence did not contend in the Central Panel. Your fans and/or devotees should stop fighting a lost cause. Never question a Jury! (sic)"

The three-time National award-winning actor promptly apologised for the nasty behavior of his fans. Rahul also shared Mammootty's response: “Reply from Mammootty: ‘Sorry sir. I have no knowledge about it. Still, I apologize for what had happened’.(sic)"

Still from Pariyerum Perumal

Still from Pariyerum Perumal

While Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam film industries had members representing their fraternity in the 11-member central panel, there was no one from Tamil cinema which witnessed a release of over 180 films in 2018. Cinematographer A Karthik Raaja from the South Panel I is the sole member who represented the Tamil film industry in the entire jury. "The filmmakers should make available themselves to be a part of the jury. The board invites our filmmakers to be on the panel, but not everyone turns up to grab that opportunity of representing our films. When I was on the panel last year, the committee mentioned how several filmmakers from our industry turned down the opportunity," said Dhananjayan.

While many argue that Ratsasan and 96, which occupied the second and third rank in IMDB's 10 Best Films of 2018 list, outshining other south Indian movies, avid moviegoers contend that rapturously reviewed Tamil films like Dhanush-Vetrimaaran's Vada Chennai and director Mari Selvaraj-Kathir's Pariyerum Perumal were royally snubbed. Also, Shankar's 2.0, which featured spectacular visual effects, lost to Kannada magnum-opus KGF and it came as a sheer disappointment for Rajnikanth's fans. In fact, Shankar's films are widely known for their fantastic visual effects with six movies from his filmography winning the National Award for Best Special Effects.

Sound designer Raja Krishnan's award for his re-recording of the final mixed track for Rangasthalam, Keerthy Suresh's Best Actress award for Mahanati, and stunt choreographer duo Anbariv's riveting work in KGF turned out to be the the only solace for Tamil cinephiles.

Updated Date: Aug 11, 2019 10:05:56 IST