Far removed from the glam, glitz and extravaganza associated with film award galas, a small and intimate ceremony was held in Kochi recently. No dazzling star strutted the red carpet nor were there electrifying dance moves. Instead, debates and discussions were held on the good films of the Malayalam industry and the efforts that go behind it.
Already tagged as an alternative to highly commercialised award nights,the ceremony conducted by the Cinema Paradiso Club (CPC), a film lovers’ group in Facebook, was meant to honour the real talents of 2016.
Says Arun Ashok, a CPC group admininstrator: “The group was formed in 2011 and, by 2012, it became very active. Though we had the practice of conducting polls in various categories, we never held an award ceremony as such. This year, director Midhun Manuel Thomas, who is also a member, mooted the idea of holding a ceremony and thus happened the Cinema Paradiso Club Award Ceremony. It was he who contacted all the industry folks.”
However, the iconic moment of the entire show, which, by now, has turned popular in Facebook, was how prominent actor Indrans was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The actor, who has given some stellar performances in comic and character roles, took to social media to express his emotional and heartfelt thanks for being awarded for the first time, despite being in the industry for almost three decades.
Clearly, the message CPC wanted to convey was not lost. That was evident when Vinayakan was adjudged the best actor for his stellar performance in Rajeev Ravi’s Kammattipadam.
Receiving the award, Vinayakan jumped up in joy. Barely containing his emotions, the actor told the audience of how the award reminded him of the first time he faced the camera in 1994.
Rajeesha Vijayan, who shared the best female actor award with Sai Pallavi, says the CPC Award was overwhelming. “It was a precious moment. This might be the only ceremony where I had an interaction with the audience and jury on whether I deserved it or not. There was a debate on the character I played. Also, it could be the most transparent award session ever,” says the actor, who won hearts through her character ‘Eli’ in Anuragakarikkinvellam.
The ceremony saw the participation of many, including Jayasurya, Indrans, Vijay Babu, Vinay Fort, Vinayakan, Manikandan, Saiju Kurup, Rajeesha, directors Ashiq Abu, Midhun Manuel Thomas, Basil Joseph and Dileesh Pothan, among others.
Nonetheless, the focus was on the healthy interactions that happened. Dileesh, whose movie Maheshinte Prathikaram was adjudged the best, says it is good to be part of an informal meeting where cinema is discussed.
“It was interactive,and not the quintessential award night. We mingled around, met people and interacted with each other. The interesting part was how meticulously they discussed the technical side of Maheshinte Prathikaram,” says the director.
But, jury member and critic Maneesh Narayanan says he doesn’t view this as an alternative to the ultra-commercialised award functions we see.
“It is a model of the transparent and genuine method of selecting winners. Here, only merit is taken into consideration. It is a model worth emulating for future award shows,” says Maneesh.