Row over exclusion of Home from State award list

A still from the Malayalam movie Home

A still from the Malayalam movie Home

The jury decisions of the 52nd Kerala State Film Awards kicked up a controversy on Saturday over the film Home, produced by rape-accused Vijay Babu, not being chosen for awards in any category. Film personalities and politicians waded into the debate on whether it is right to overlook a movie just because its producer is an accused, although jury chairman Saeed Mirza had categorically stated during the award declaration that the controversy did not influence the jury's decision.

Speaking to the media from a film set, actor Indrans, whose role in Home was much appreciated, said that he was not disappointed about him not getting the Best Actor Award, but was sad at the film not being considered. Indrans was adjudjed the best actor at the State Film Awards of 2018.

"I had expected Home to win an award, because everyone was talking about it. It has emotionally moved everyone who has watched it. Maybe, the jury has not seen the film. As for the case against the producer, can an entire family be punished if a family member becomes an accused in a case? Will they reconsider the awards if he is acquitted in the case?" he asked.

Political motives

Actor Manju Pillai, who also excelled in the film, echoed his views. Congress MLA Shafi Parambil said only people who were politically blind would defend the decision of the jury to ignore the film. “The government, which claims that all these decisions were taken by the jury alone, should get an award for its performance,” he said. He added that he was not doubting the talents of any actor who had won the award, but political motives could certainly be suspected.

Minister for Cultural Affairs Saji Cherian said the jury had watched all the films. The government or the Chalachitra Academy did not have any role in the decision-making. "Indrans might have been misled by some people. The police case has nothing to do with these decisions. Even Congress leaders will be considered for the awards if they act well," he said.

‘It was shortlisted’

A total of 142 films were submitted for the award. Two subcommittees viewed the initial submissions and shortlisted 29 films, which were viewed by the main jury. Jury chairman Saeed Mirza had said on Saturday that Home was among the shortlisted films.

“Until I was told about this controversy today, I didn’t even know about this. The controversy certainly did not influence our decision. The film stands by itself and the other issues shouldn’t be a factor. We came to these award proposals unanimously and Home got left out,” Mr. Mirza said.

Academy officials also dismissed the claim that the jury has not watched the film, as there was digital log to prove this.

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Printable version | Jun 20, 2022 12:17:52 am |