The special mention award won by ‘Aadimadhyantham’ directed by Sherry in the National Film Awards announced on Wednesday is a major recognition for his debut feature film as it comes barely a few months after the film triggered controversy following its removal from the competition section of the recently concluded 16th International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK).

The special mention award for the feature film is also an added acknowledgment as it comes nearly a month after it was bestowed the 14th John Abraham Award for the best film instituted by the Federation of Film Societies of India – Keralam.

“I am very pleased to know that my debut film has won the special mention. I am happier because the recognition followed attempts by some quarters to eliminate the film,” Mr. Sherry told The Hindu when contacted on Wednesday.

He was referring to the removal of the ‘Aadimadhyantham’ from the competition section of the IFFK held in Thiruvananthapuram in December last. The film’s removal from the competition segment was motivated by a strong opposition of some people to the ‘parallel’ and alternative stand the film presents in defiance of the conventional ideas about film-making, according to Mr. Sherry.

The official version defending the removal of the film from the competition segment was that it was allegedly found to be an incomplete work. Mr. Sherry’s response at that time was that it was unheard of that a film was removed from any film festival on the ground that it was incomplete.

According to Sherry, the real motive for removing the film from the segment was the attitude of some of the organisers of the IFFK including Minister in charge of the IFFK K.B. Ganesh Kumar that subaltern films such as ‘Aadimadhyantham’ would not be included in the IFFK.

“The special mention award is in fact an honour for all the people who stood with us in our struggle against this attitude,” Mr. Sherry said here on Wednesday.

The film is about a four-year-old boy, who is speech-and hearing-impaired, whose fears about death and loneliness forms the main thread of its story. The boy experiences days and nights differently and has nightmares about death.

The jury that had selected the film for the John Abraham Award said that Sherry is in consensus with the principles of John Abraham who had a creativity struggle against the capitalist tendencies in the film industry.