Vidhu Vincent bags best director award for ‘Manhole’

Updated - March 08, 2017 12:50 am IST

Published - March 07, 2017 08:18 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

Taking a detour from the much-trodden path of sticking to the popular names and familiar faces, the jury for the 47th State Film Awards chose Manhole, directed by Vidhu Vincent, as the best film and T.K. Vinayakan as the best actor. Vidhu Vincent was also chosen as the best director, becoming the first woman to win the award in its 47-year-old history. The significance of the award, coming on the eve of International Women’s Day was not lost on anyone.

A film on the struggles of manual scavenging workers of Kerala, whose existence the government is in denial about, Manhole was the unanimous choice among the jury members for convincingly bringing the plight of the marginalised on screen, according to Jury Chairman A.K. Bir. The story is set around the family of a manual scavenging worker and the attempts of the younger generation to escape from it, and their desire for a life of dignity and brings on screen the caste politics inherent in the job.

In choosing Vinayakan, for his stupendous performance as Ganga in Kammatipadam , the jury was again making a break from a long-held ‘tradition’, of giving the best actor trophy only to the lead actor in a film.

Though Dulquer Salman played the protagonist in the film, Vinayakan’s sensitive performance as Ganga was much talked about. In recent weeks, when he was sidelined in a few private film awards, there was much uproar among film buffs in social media. It was also the first time that a Dalit was being chosen for the award.

Remarkable choice

Another remarkable choice made by the jury was that of Manikandan Achary as the best character actor, for his role of Balan in Kammatipadam . Coming from a theatre background, he scorched the screen on his debut, almost matching Vinayakan in histrionics.

Rajisha Vijayan’s win in the best actor (female) category was another unexpected choice. In Anuraga Karikkin Vellam , she had brought much freshness to the screen as the over-protective girlfriend Elizabeth, shining equally in the humorous as well as the emotional sequences. Ottayal Patha , directed by Santhosh Babusenan and Satheesh Babusenan, was chosen as the second best film. Shanavas. K. Bavakutti won the award for the Best Debut Director for Kismath , which won praises for its critique of religion and casteism.

Maheshinte Prathikaram , one of the films tipped to win the best film, won the award for the best popular film. Syam Pushkaran, wrote the ‘revenge’ story with lots of humour, won the award for the best scriptwriter.

O.N.V. Kurup was given the award for the best lyricist posthumously, for the song Nadavathil Thurannilla from Kamboji .

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