‘Happy Days’ at the 55th Tiger Balm Filmfare South Awards

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Two films dominated the 55th Filmfare South Awards held at Chennai’s magnificent Nehru indoor stadium. They each took six awards. The first was the Tamil (Kollywood) mega-hit Paruthiveeran and the second, the Telugu (Tollywood) language Happy Days.

The stars were out in force in Chennai that night with the brightly shining starlets in the audience and on the stage vying for attention with the magnificent astro-panorama in the midnight skies above. Hosts Madhavan and Sindhura effortlessly guided the audience of thousands of Chenaiites through a spectacular variety and awards show lasting over four hours. Later in the evening, Madhavan succeeded in coaxing Tabu, who was present to give an award, into singing a song for the audience.

Happy Days, a totally joyous film about the lives of four college students, dominated the all-important Tollywood section, winning the Best Film Award, Best Director Award for Shekar Kammula, Best Composer Award for Mickey J Meyer, Best Supporting Female Actor for Sonia, Best Supporting Male Actor was Jagapathi Babu for Lakshyam. Best Lyricist was Vanamali and Best Singer for Karthik.

The Best Male Actor Award in Tollywood went to Junior NTR for Yamadonga. “I think these are blessings from my grandfather, who is looking after me from above,” he said. Trisha won the Best Female Actor Award for her role in Adavari Mataluku Ardhalu Verule. This was her third Filmfare Award. “I want to thank my fans, co-stars, director and most of all to the Telegu film industry for some of my best films till date,” she declared, dropping hints that she has even more to offer in the future!

Hansika Motwani, soon to be seen in Money Hai Toh Honey Hai, won the prestigious Best Debutante Award for her performance in Desamuduru.

In Kollywood (Tamil language), Paruthiveeran was Best Movie. With Ameer, its director winning Best Director and its lead man Karthik voted Best Male Actor. Saravanan, from the same film, also won Best Supporting Male Actor and Sujatha, also from Parathiveeran was Best Supporting Female Actor. Best Villain for the second year running was Daniel Balaji for Polladhavan. Best Comedian was Vivek for Sivaji:The Boss. Best Female Debut went to Anjali for Katradhu Tamil. For the second year running, AR Rahman won Best Musical Director for Sivaji: The Boss. This was the popular composer’s 22nd Filmfare Award – a record. Best Singer was SP Balasubramaniam for Mozhi. Ram Charan Teja won the Best Actor Debut Award for Chirutha. Priyamani, who won the Best Actress Debut Award for her role in Paruthiveeran, raised a lot of friendly laughs when her emotional speech descended into a mixture of Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada and Telugu, thereby covering all her bases!

The award to Priyamani was presented to Priyamani by Kollywood legend – actor and politician Sarath Kumar – but it was his beautiful daughter Varalaxmi who stole everyone’s attention on the light. Dressed in a light blue net sari, this was seen to some extent as her coming-out ceremony. Recently having achieved a Doctorate in Microbiology and a Masters in Management from Edinburgh University in Scotland, it is said her thoughts are now turning to the filmi world with a rumour that she may play Simbu’s heroine in Poda Podi. “I always wanted to be an actress,” she says, “I had done some stage shows and was also very impressed by Cats, the Broadway show. I even staged the show in Chennai for my friends and family. I think that must have impressed my dad, who agreed to launch me in movies.”

The Lifetime Achievement Award went to ever-youthful actor Sivakumar. The father of Surya and Karthi, making the event a real family occasion. Karthi called his mother up on stage to share in the achievement.

There was entertainment throughout the evening. Rambha had the audience clapping when she rock’n’rolled to ‘Sei, edhavadhu sei’ from the movie Billa. Superstar and Bollywood-bound Shriya Saran brought the crowd to its feet when she performed the hit number ‘Vaaji vaaji’ from Sivaji. Namitha also performed an exotic number.

In the greatly respected Malayalam (Mollywood) category, the winner was Katha Parayumbol, whilst Mohanlal walked off with the Best Actor Award for Paradesi. I consider Paradesi as a landmark in my filmi career,” he said. The beautiful Meera Jasmine received the Best Actress Award for Ore Kadal. Lakshmi Gopalswami scored one more for Paradesi as she picked up the Best Supporting Actress Award.

In the smaller Kannada section, Baby Thiruvalla won the Best Director award for Thaniye. Aa Dinagallu, by new director Chaitanya won the best film award. Sarath Lohitashwa, won the Best Supporting Actor Award for role in Aa Dinagallu. Duniya also won two awards – Best Female Actor for Rashmi, and Best Male Actor for Vijay.

Despite stiff opposition from the gorgeous Katrina Kaif, Shriya Saran stole the limelight on the evening with her beautiful pink gown and outstanding stage performance. “Filmfare awards are always a lot fun, people wait for these awards here,” she said, “I’m really excited as I’m performing. So it’s a double-bonus.”She will soon be setting many hearts aflutter in Bollywood too so watch out Katrina!

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