‘Thanga Meengal’ and ‘Haridas’ win first and second place; fest ends on high note

Filmmaker Ram’s ‘Thanga Meenkal’ that explored the relationship between a man and his daughter was named the best Tamil film of the Chennai International Film Festival (CIFF), at the closing ceremony held in the city on Thursday.

“The film is an illustrious narration of a father’s commitment to his daughter and the glory of education in government schools,” a note by the Festival’s team of jury was read out, as Mr. Ram and his team of assistant directors, received the award citation, cash prize and a memento from the chief guest of the evening, acclaimed Hindi filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, at Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Concert Hall in the city.

In his acceptance speech, Mr. Ram thanked the jury and the audience for supporting the film notwithstanding some criticism from the media. “I especially feel grateful when strangers meet me on the road and tell me they have admitted their children to government schools.” The film’s producer J. Satish Kumar also received an award for the film.

‘Haridas,’ another film centred on the relationship between a man and his autistic son, directed by G.N.R. Kumaravelan, was named the second best Tamil film in the competition category. Mr. Kumaravelan and producer V. Ramadoss’s wife received the award. 

A special jury mention award was given to filmmaker Bala’s ‘Paradesi’. The film’s lead actor Atharvaa received the award.

Child actors from ‘Thanga Meenkal’ and ‘Haridas’ — Sadhana and Prithiviraj Das — were given the best child artistes award in a newly-constituted category.

Young music director Anirudh Ravichander, who had a concert before the closing ceremony, was the first recipient of the Amitabh Bachchan Youth Icon Award, instituted by CIFF as an annual award.

In his address, Mr. Omprakash Mehra commended the festival’s organisers, the volunteers and the audience for the high level of energy and passion on display.

“I hope this festival grows in strength in the years to come. Chennai has the potential to become the gateway to South East Asian cinema,” said the director of hits, including ‘Rang De Basanti’ and ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’.

The closing ceremony was compered by actors Anu Hasan and Karthi. CIFF organisers Suhasini Maniratnam and Shylaja Chetlur and Indo Cine Appreciation Foundation’s general secretary E. Thangaraj, president S. Kannan and vice-president B. Ramakrishnan were present.

Student volunteers from SRM Group of Institutions were praised for their dedicated support.

CIFF was presented by The Hindu and television channel Puthuyugam in association with South India Shelters real estate developers. The festival is supported by the State government.

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