For a language that has been a major force for decades at the national film awards, Tuesday was not exactly a day to remember. Malayalam did not win any major awards. It had to be content with just three awards and a special mention of the jury (for actor Musthafa in Ain ).
Joshi Mangalath walking away with the award for the best adapted screenplay ( Ottal ) and Gopi Sundar winning the award for the best background music ( 1983) were the only highlights for Malayalam in the features section. Ottal , directed by Jayaraj, also won the award for the best environmental film. That means just three awards, the same as last year. Even two years ago, Malayalam had won a dozen awards. The last time a national-award winning film that spoke Malayalam was in 2011, when Adaminte Makan Abu was adjudged the best film. That was the fifth best-film award for Malayalam in 11 years. Not to mention the prestigious awards for the best actor, actress and director that Malayalam cinema frequently used to win.
Quality of films
“There is no doubt about the fact that the quality of Malayalam cinema is coming down, even as the quantity is on the rise,” veteran director Harikumar, who has been part of the jury for the national awards on three occasions, told The Hindu .
“About 150 films were released last year, of which some 50 competed for the awards. Only a handful of them had any chance of winning.”
He added that though the young filmmakers were doing some praiseworthy experiments, most of them lacked the expertise of directors like Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Shaji N. Karun and Hariharan.
“Today’s directors lack the polish and the eye for details our masters had and that is one of the reasons why our films lose out in a tight competition. The attitude of our actors towards meaningful cinema is also changing.
A young star today may not be willing to compromise on his salary for a small-budget art house movie, something Mammootty, Mohanlal, Suresh Gopi and Dileep used to.”