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A hot, star-studded show

Live shows and film stars are sure crowd-pullers. What happens when stars of the tinsel world conduct a live show in a city like Kochi, is not beyond our imagination. The crowds will surge to see their matinee icons perform on stage. And they did, throwing all calculations and expectations of the organisers to the wind, at the fourth Lux-Asianet film awards pageant held at the Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium on Friday.

The crowd that gathered in front of the venue by 6 p.m., more than an hour before the event started, defied the fact that there was a hartal during the day. Pushed and pulled, sometimes with more than gentle force, the invitees squeezed into the stadium, to witness a star-studded spectacle lasting about six hours.

Leaving several thousands of enthusiasts--some even having passes--outside the venue, the show got off on time with the sonorous voice of Mohanlal introducing the gathering to a large stage set against the glorious civilisation of ancient Egypt.. Paradoxically, the Egyptian iconography, which is easily recognisable and has inspired many an occult all over the world, failed to turn on the Malayalam stars. Neither did it inspire the audience, which obviously spent more energy for booing than clapping.

Compeered by Sukumaran's son Prathyuraj and TV hostess Savitha, the award ceremony dragged on and on. While most songs rendered by artistes like Mohanlal, Siddique, Biju Menon, Jagadeesh, Manoj K. Jayan, Rajan P. Dev, Saikumar, Kalpana, and K.P.A.C. Lalitha did not enthuse the audience.

Of course, there were exceptions, like Ayilyam Padathe Penne rendered by Siddique, Rajan P. Dev and Saikumar, and a humorous remix of Kayalarikathu Valayerinjappol by Kunchan. Kalabhavan Mani's presence on the stage, though for a brief spell, instilled some pep into the crowds.

Mani's one-line imitation of Jayan did entertain the crowd more than the long farcical skits presented by Dileep, Indrans, Harisree Asokan, N.F. Varghese, Jagathi, Bindu Panikkar and Edavela Babu.

Yesudas's rendition of Manushyan Mathangale Srishtichu, penned by Vayalar Ramavarma, without any musical accompaniment proved timely, though his son Vijay Yesudas's dance and song was not impressive.

The cinematic dances of Kunchacko Boban, Jayaram, Divya Unni, Nitya Das, Jomol, Navya Nair, Kavya Madhavan, and Mohanlal had more glamour than the live presentations by the stars. The crowd, which have all along been fanning themselves with the award brochures, appreciated the dance of Sukumari.

The awards were claimed to have been announced on the stage itself. But the winners did not show any excitement or emotion which is usually seen on similar occasions. Kamal, the best director, Jayaram, the best actor, Samyukta Varma, the best actress, Innocent, the best supporting actor, Bindu Panicker, the best supporting actress, all appeared to have had some premonition about the honours.

The elaborate efforts of Asianet and the Association of Malayalam Movie Actors (AMMA) apart, the cine stars proved that they cannot come near their Bollywood counterparts in stage performance. The show also highlighted the dearth of Malayalam actresses, while scores of actors took turns to entertain the crowds.

By Abdul Latheef Naha
Photos: H. Vibhu

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