A Sparkling Triumph -The 56th Filmfare South Awards

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It was another fantastic night of fantasy at the 56th annual South Filmfare Awards at the Novotel in Hyderabad. Mumaith Khan set the tone for the Black Lady awards with an eye-popping, foot-stomping item number followed by performances from Shraddha Das, Sneha Ullal and Priyamani whilst Genelia D’Souza gave a magnificent performance in a black halter top and swirly silver dress to a captivated audience, paying tribute to the stars of the world’s biggest film industry.

As always, for the huge gathering of fans outside the hotel, it was a game of I-Spy as the stars arrived in their black limousines for the event. Shriya Saran looked gorgeous in a peacock blue sari with silver bustier; Raima Sen arrived looking cool in a blue satin skirt and black bustier; whereas Priyamani turned many heads in a clinging full-length red satin dress. Rambha looked virginal in a white pencil-strap dress; whereas Sneha drew gasps of appreciation in her traditional golden silk sari; Raja and Sanjana looked the best couple of the evening and Sindhurra Gadde had a bit of a fashion disaster in a frumpy yellow-and-white dress. Aarti Agarwal looked tired and cross in an embroidered black dress whereas Swathi looked full of beans in a swirling short red dress with a golden half-belt. A host of other stars included Ileana, Tabu, Kajal and Rajesh.

But above all, it was the awards that mattered. MCs Purabh Kohli, Sindura Gadde and Kriti had the audience in stitches with their largely unrehearsed one-liners all evening.

In the biggest section, Telegu, winner of the Best Film Award was Gamyan, directed by Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi who won the Best Director Award. Starring Allari Naresh, who picked up the Best Supporting Actor Award, it&’s a film about self-discovery, love and responsibility, reminiscent of the books of Anne Tyler. Radha thanked his family as he received his award. “I had a good script and a story but no one showed any interest in producing it. My family believed in me and came forward to produce the movie,” he said.

Best Actor went to Allu Arjun for his energetic role in Parugu – a film based on the true life drama of anti-corruption actor and politician Chiranjeevi’s daughter’s elopement. In receiving the award, he lived up to his playboy image by giving Kriti his famous bunny kiss – a series of quick pecks on the cheek to a roar of approval from the audience.

Best Female Actor justifiably went to Swathi for her role in Asta Chamma (Ludo). “At last a Telugu girl gets the award!” she screamed. A charming film, based on Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Ernest, Asta Chamma is a woman-centric movie, which sees Swathi, who also appears in the Tamil Subramaniyapuram developing into an accomplished actress of some note.

Best Supporting Actress in Tollywood went to Jayasudha for her role in Kotha Bangaru Lokam, a delightful tale about avoiding an unwanted arranged marriage.

In the Tamil section, Subramaniyapuram walked away with the Best Film and Best Director Award for M Sasi Kumar. It’s a gripping tale of murder, betrayal and revenge, which also stars Sameera Reddy. Suriya won the Best Actor Award for Vaaranam Aayiram, an astonishing all-encompassing melodrama which takes in the power of love, father-son relationships, drug addiction, kidnapping, terminal illness and even the Oklahoma bombing. Inspired partly by Forrest Gump and also the Dutch movie Character, it’s a tour de force for Suriya who once again demonstrates his ability as one of the most versatile actors in Kollywood. Simran also picked up the Best Supporting Female Award for the movie.

In his speech, Suriya paid tribute to Kamal Hassan: “I see this award as a blessing from Kamal sir. I’m a big fan of his and I’m sure he’s watching my progress. I did two characters in VA, which in itself was a big task. Just imagine a man playing 10 characters in a single film! Only Kamal can do that.”

Best Female Actor went to Parvathi for Poo, a tale of devoted love. Parvathi was overwhelmed by her Black Lady award. “I’m honoured to be standing on this big stage. I did the things I like in front of the camera for Poo and I got an award for that!”

Best Supporting Actor went to Ajmal for his role in Anjathey, a hard-nosed tale of divided loyalties and gangsterism.

The Malayalam film industry is always original and innovative. This year’s awards were swept by the excellent Thirakkadha which won Best Film, Director, Best Actor, Best Female Actor and Best Supporting Actor Awards – only Sukanya stopping the clean sweep with her Best Female Supporting Actor Award for Innathe Chinthavishayam.

Thirakkadha is an exceptional film in any industry, dealing as it does with the difficulty of women actresses who are glamourous in their youth, attracting overwhelming attention, only to suddenly find as they drift through their thirties that in a youth-oriented industry, they become sidelined, reduced to cameo parts and eventually ignored. Bipasha Basu has recently alluded to her fears in this area. In a taut but original narrative style, Ranjith directs the movie telling three tales partly in flashback that interweave seamlessly as the film unfolds. Based partly on the true-life story of the late Sridivya and her relationship with Kamal Hassan, the movie brought plaudits from all who saw it with Priyamani classed as outstanding.

Innathe Chinthavishayam is a movie about the perils of divorce in modern India and in particular the effects it can have on the women in the divorce as they are suddenly having to face up to life as their own breadwinner for their children having sacrificed years to their husband’s careers.

In the smaller but vibrant Kannada film industry, Moggina Mannasu was clearly the film of the year winning all the major awards except Best Actor. The film is a life-affirming movie about college life reminiscent of Happy Days. A joyous three hours of fun and frolics, Radhika Pandit stands out as an actress to watch for the future. Meanwhile, ever-popular Ganesh walked away with the Best Actor Award for Gaalipata, a Dil Chhata Hai type movie with Ganesh demonstrating his irrepressible energy once again.

The 56th Filmfare South Awards – truly a night to remember.

Best Film: Subramaniyapuram
Best Director: M Sasi Kumar (Subramaniyapuram)
Best Actor (Male): Suriya (Vaaranam Aayiram)
Best Actor (Female): Parvathy (Poo)
Best Actor In A Supporting Role (Male): Ajmal (Anjathey)
Best Actor In A Supporting Role (Female): Simran (Vaaranam Aayiram)
Best Music: Harris Jayaraj (Vaaranam Aayiram)
Best Lyricist: Thamarai (Nenjukkual peithidum – Vaaranam Aayiram)
Best Playback Singer (Male): Naresh Iyer (Munthinam partheyney—Vaaranam Aayiram)
Best Playback Singer (Female): Deepa Miriam (Kangal irundal—Subramaniyapuram)

Best Film: Gamyam
Best Director: Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi (Gamyam)
Best Actor (Male): Allu Arjun (Parugu)
Best Actor (Female): Swathi (Asta Chamma)
Best Actor In A Supporting Role (Male): Allari Naresh (Gamyam)
Best Actor In A Supporting Role (Female): Jayasudha (Kotha Bangaru Lokam)
Best Music: Mickey J Meyer (Kotha Bangaru Lokam)
Best Lyricist: Sirivennela Seetharama Sastry (Entavaraku—Gamyam)
Best Playback Singer (Male): Karthik ( Nijangaa nenenaa—Kotha Bangaru Lokam)
Best Playback Singer (Female): Shweta Pandit (Nenani Neevani— Kotha Bangaru Lokam)

Best Film: Thirakkadha
Best Director: Ranjith (Thirakkadha)
Best Actor (Male): Lal (Thalappam)
Best Actor (Female): Priyamani (Thirakkadha)
Best Actor In A Supporting Role (Male): Anoop Menon (Thirakkadha)
Best Actor In A Supporting Role (Female): Sukanya (Innathe Chinthavishayam)
Best Music: Sarath (Thirakkadha)
Best Lyricist: Girish Puthencherry (Amma mazhakkar—Madambi)
Best Playback Singer (Male): Yesudas (Amma mazhakkar—Madambi)
Best Playback Singer (Female): Chithra (Oduvil oru—Thirakkadha)

Best Film: Moggina Manasu
Best Director: Shashank (Moggina Manasu)
Best Actor (Male): Ganesh (Gaalipata)
Best Actor (Female): Radhika Pandit (Moggina Manasu)
Best Actor In A Supporting Role (Male): Yash (Moggina Manasu)
Best Actor In A Supporting Role (Female): Shubha Poonja (Moggina Manasu)
Best Music: Harikrishna (Gaalipata)
Best Lyricist: Jayanth Kaikini (Minchaagi neenu baralu—Gaalipata)
Best Playback Singer (Male): Sonu Nigam (Yenagali munde saagu—Mussanje Maathu)
Best Playback Singer (Female): Shreya Ghoshal (Ninna nodalenthu—Mussanje
LTA–Veturi Sundara Rama Murthy

Best Cinematographers : S Krishna (Kannada) Haage Summane, Chota K Naidu (Telugu)–Kotha Bangaru Lokam
Best Choreographer: Prem Rakshith–(Telugu) Kanthri, Songs: I Go Crazy and Vayasunami

Male – Shanthnoo Bhanyaraj
Female – Meera Nandan

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