Posts Tagged ‘Salim Ahamed’

Most of us haven’t. If you don’t have any respect for Oscar, and surely there are many valid reasons for that, then you don’t need to worry about the film Adaminte Makan Abu. It also won four National Awards and it made us curious because Oscar or not, a good film is a good film. So we asked our good ol’ Mallu friend Prasanth Vijay to write a review post for us. Read on…

Abur Sansar

As it happens once in a while in Indian cinema, Davids come out of nowhere and walk over the Goliaths. The latest in line being Adaminte Makan Abu (Abu, Son of Adam) which has become the country’s official entry for Oscar this year. Majority in Kerala, except a few of us who had been following the reports of its making, had a similar shock when the National awards were announced a couple of months ago and Abu won four major awards. It was a natural extension to see the film winning another four at the state awards a few days later (though many argue that this wouldn’t have happened without the National awards win). On hindsight, none of this is too hard to understand because parallel cinema in India is always forced to remain under a veil until a saviour comes along and salvages it (though sadly for many, this never happens).

Adaminte Makan Abu is about an old Muslim couple whose greatest dream in life is to attend Hajj pilgrimage. Over many years, they scrimp and save small sums for this out of their modest living. Things begin to fall in place, and they start preparing for the pilgrimage when calamity strikes in an unforeseen way and they are almost back to square one. Around the protagonists is the rustic panorama of a Kerala village (now a highly endangered entity) and its inhabitants who touch on their lives constantly. The towering achievement of the creators of the movie is turning this seemingly clichéd and possibly melodramatic synopsis into a well-crafted film which culminates in a much higher level of composure and optimism. And for the record, it’s certainly NOT poverty porn. It is about hope, and about a virtuous Abu who moves us to tears by the goodness of his character, rather than by his trials and tribulations.

Abu, a street medicine and perfume vendor is a staunch believer in his religion. And religion serves its true purpose here, making Abu a great human being who is at one with all of nature, not just the humans in it. He accepts that the purity of the means he takes up is as or even more important than the end. He doesn’t have to mull over even a little to resist temptations, however harmless they seem. There is a Malayalam verse which defines ‘courageous’ as the one whose mind doesn’t flicker the slightest even when there are strong reasons. Amidst heroes whose morals stoop when pressed by circumstances, Abu’s frail figure looms above them as the bravest of recent times, though too insignificant to matter to anyone else. True, it is a nearly fanatic faith in his religion that backs him, but with his clarity he touches the essence of it which is nothing but love and goodness, even if it’s unrequited.

Salim Ahamed, the writer- director of the film was as unknown as the film till the National awards. The creative mastery and the maturity of craft of the debutant are commendable. The artistic honesty he has brought into each frame is what has saved the film from falling into the possible traps of cliché and melodrama. It’s well detailed- from elaborately showing the preparations of Hajj pilgrims (which prompted naysayers to call it an extended travel agency ad) to the passing scenes of the wife smelling a lemon to fend off nausea during bus rides. Salim also deserves credit for extracting what he wanted from a seasoned crew- from ace Madhu Ambat wielding a digital camera for the first time to magical musician Issac Thomas Kottukapally creating music out of silences and Pattanam Rasheed for whom adding a few decades to a person’s face is never a big deal. The cast also has prominent artists even in minor roles so that they stay etched in our minds. Zarina Wahab becomes Ayeshumma as effortlessly as she dons her prayer robe.

It’s unjust to a film or any work of art to say that one element of it rises above the rest. But Salim Kumar, playing Abu stands out here because of his inseparability from the film. An accomplishment which is likely to be widely overlooked by viewers outside the home state is the unparalleled makeover he has undergone to become the character. Salim who has received popularity among masses and occasional brickbats from critics for his slapstick roles (which were by no means easy feats!), has proved the versatile actor in him whenever given a chance- in Achanurangatha Veedu (2006) and Bridge (segment in the anthology film Kerala Cafe). He lives as Abu the way no other actor in the world could have.

Adaminte Makan Abu is undoubtedly a lucky film – right from its conception to its reception. It might not be “the best” of its times, but it surely deserves most of the accolades it has already been honoured with. It may be considered as the prize for the honesty and sincerity that went into its making. In an industry that churns out either insignificant trash or over-hyped pseudo classics, this noble film marks itself by its restraint and lucidity. It’s another instance of many right things happening together towards a greater goal. Where mediocrity is celebrated and excellence is even denied birth, it’s not enough that we have visionary and resourceful film-makers. They should also have the blessing of fortune shining on them to materialise their dreams. May their tribe increase!

58th National Awards have been announced. And as expected, most of the winners are from down south. The feature films jury was headed by J.P. Dutta, Non-Feature Films jury was headed by A.K. Bir and Best Writing on Cinema jury was headed by Ashok Vajpeyi.

FEATURE FILMS

1. BEST FEATURE FILM

Adaminte Makan Abu (Malayalam) –   Producer: Salim Ahamed.    Director : Salim Ahamed

(For a simple yet evocative articulation of humanist values that frees matters of faith from the constrictions of narrow parochialism. The concerns of Abu, son of Adam, are timeless and universal in their scope. )

2. INDIRA GANDHI AWARD FOR BEST DEBUT FILM OF A DIRECTOR

Baboo Band Baaja  (Marathi) –   Producer: Nita Jadhav.   Director : Rajesh Pinjani

(For a riveting tale of a father reluctant to educate his son, a mother who fiercely believes in its liberatory value, and the son who is caught in the crossfire, ‘Baboo’ is an outstanding debut project by director. )

3. AWARD FOR BEST POPULAR FILM PROVIDING WHOLESOME ENTERTAINMENT

Dabangg (Hindi) – Producer: Arbaaz Khan, Malaika Arora Khan & Dhilin Mehta. Director : Abhinav Singh Kashyap

(Answers the need of cinegoers for entertainment rooted in Indian soil.)

4. NARGIS DUTT AWARD FOR BEST FEATURE FILM ON NATIONAL INTEGRATION

Moner Manush (Bengali) – Producer: Gautam Kundu. Director : Goutam Ghose

(For celebrating the union of the human spirit through the life and song of Sufi poets in the Baul tradition.)

5. BEST FILM ON SOCIAL ISSUES

Champions (Marathi) – Producer: Aishwarya Narkar. Director : Ramesh More

(In a world of deprivation, the thirst for an education surpasses the hunger for food amongst two young brothers fending for each other and their mother)

6. BEST FILM ON ENVIRONMENT CONSERVATION/PRESERVATION

Bettada Jeeva (Kannada) – Producer: Basantkumar Patil. Director : P. Sheshadri

(An old couple steeped in the soil of their environment yearn for the return of their son while nurturing the growth of their young plantation against all odds)

7. BEST CHILDREN’S FILM

Hejjegalu (Kannada) – Producer: Basantkumar Patil. Director : P.R. Ramadas Naidu

(A little girl cheerfully takes on the challenge to preserve the fabric of her family)

8. BEST DIRECTION

Aadukalam (Tamil) – Vetrimaran

(For a gritty tale of love, jealousy and betrayal in the midst of bloodsport and violence, in the manner of realistic cinema)

9. BEST ACTOR

Aadukalam (Tamil) – Dhanush

Adaminte Makan Abu (Malayalam) – Salim Kumar

(Two riveting performances that fuse character and actor into one: To Dhanush for the raw, nuanced portrayal of a cocky young man who learns lessons about life the hard way. To Salim for a deep, restrained performance of a simple man with an unshakeable belief in his quest for salvation )

10. BEST ACTRESS

Baboo Band Baaja (Marathi) – Mitalee Jagtap Varadkar

Thenmerkku Paruvakkatru (Tamil) – Saranya Ponvannan

(The picture of two mothers whose concern for bettering the lives of their children in the face of untold hardship: As a mother who strives to realise through her son her dreams of a better future. As a fiercely combative single mother who shields her son to the point of sacrifice.)

11. BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Mynaa (Tamil) – J. Thambi Ramaiah

(For a heart-warming performance as a policeman who discovers his humanity in the process of capturing an escaped fugitive.)

12. BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Namma Gramam (Tamil) – Sukumari

(For a sensitive portrayal of an aged widow who challenges orthodoxy when restrictions are placed upon her widowed granddaughter)

13. BEST CHILD ARTIST

I am Kalam (Hindi) – Harsh Mayar

Champions (Marathi) – Shantanu Ranganekar & Machindra Gadkar

Baboo Band Baaja (Marathi) – Vivek Chabukswar

(Four actors for expressing with charm and heartbreak the world of the child: For performing with bright, shining eyes and an urchin smile, the razor sharp spirit of a survivor who dreams of excelling. For two brothers bonded by blood and responsibility battling for survival in the underbelly of a heartless city. For capturing the indomitable spirit of a young village boy who is hungry to learn in an environment that closes all doors on him.

14. BEST MALE PLAYBACK SINGER

Mee Sindhutai Sapkal (Marathi) – Suresh Wadkar

(For rendering soulful lyrics in a resonant voice soaked in emotion with a purity of musical expression and spiritual empathy)

15. BEST FEMALE PLAYBACK SINGER

Ishqiya (Hindi) – Rekha Bhardwaj

(For a sensual and evocative rendering of a heart longing for the beloved.)

16. BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Adaminte Makan Abu (Malayalam) – Madhu Ambat

(For the visual poetry that augments and reinforces the concern of the narrative and for unfolding the infinite vistas of nascent digital technology in the visual medium.)

17. BEST SCREENPLAY

Original : Aadukalam (Tamil) – Vetrimaran

Adapted : Mee Sindhutai Sapkal (Marathi) – Anant Mahadevan & Sanjay Pawar

Dialogues :  Mee Sindhutai Sapkal (Marathi) – Sanjay Pawar

(For its kaleidoscopic variety that uses realism, tradition and contemporaneity, soaked in local flavour on an infinite canvas.

For retaining the concerns and values of a biographical account while translating it into the cinematic medium and honouring the essence of the original.

For bringing to life the textures of various characters through articulating their emotion and thought process.)

18. BEST AUDIOGRAPHY

Ishqiya (Hindi) : Location Sound Recordist : Kaamod Kharade

Chitrasutram (Malayalam)Sound Designer : Subhadeep Sengupta

Ishqiya : Re-recordist of the final mixed track : Debajit Changmai

(For capturing the soft nuances and variations of the artists’ voices and location ambience in a sensorial manner.

For the use of various sound effects along with existing ambience to impart a subliminal experience in this abstract work.

For merging voices, location ambience, background music and other sound effects to create a near-tactile experience that is both real and artistic. )

19. BEST EDITING

Aadukalam (Tamil) – T.E. Kishore

(For the subliminal impact created by the use of montage so as to bring to the fore thematic concerns of the narrative in a holistic manner)

20. BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Enthiran (Tamil) – Sabu Cyril

(For the style and finesse realised in the creation of a set design that is coherent with the futuristic visual style of the narrative.)

21. BEST COSTUME DESIGNER

Namma Gramam (Tamil) – Indrans Jayan

(For realising effectively the texture of a period in the history of modern India through miniscule attention to detailing)

22. BEST MAKE-UP ARTIST

Moner Manush(Bengali) – Vikram Gaikwad

(For the admirable detailing and remarkable consistency achieved in the etching of the characters across an extensive time span.)

23. BEST MUSIC DIRECTION

Ishqiya – Music Director (Songs) : Vishal Bhardwaj

Adaminte Makan Abu (Malayalam) – Music Director (Background Score) : Issak Thomas Kottakapally

(For blending rustic flavour with the Indian classical tradition.

For minimalistic use of appropriate background score to nurture the essence of the narrative.)

24. BEST LYRICS

Thenmerkku Paruvakkatru (Tamil) – Vairamuthu

(For giving a meaningful expression to the narrative through contextual amplification of the emotion)

25. SPECIAL JURY AWARD

Mee Sindhutai Sapkal (Marathi) – Producer: Bindiya & Sachin Khanolkar. Director : Anant Narayan Mahadevan

(For a powerful cinematic presentation of an epic journey of a living character, an abandoned woman who refused to become a victim and in the process not only transformed her own life but also the lives of many others)

26. BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS

Enthiran (Tamil) – V. Srinivas M Mohan

(For bringing of age a spectrum of visual special effects in Indian cinema and creating a space for the practitioners of this art form on the global map.)

27. BEST CHOREOGRAPHY

Aadukalam (Tamil) – Dinesh Kumar

(For the native charm and innovative design in the art of choreography that creates an effervescent energy in the spectator)

28. BEST FEATURE FILM IN EACH OF THE LANGUAGE SPECIFIED IN THE SCHEDULE VIII OF THE CONSTITUTION

BEST ASSAMESE FILM – Jetuka Patar Dare

BEST BENGALI FILM – Ami Aadu

BEST HINDI FILM – Do Dooni Char

BEST KANNADA – Puttakkana Highway

BEST MALAYALAM FILM – Veettilekkulla Vazhi

BEST MARATHI FILM – Mala Aai Vhhaychay

BEST TAMIL FILM – Thenmerkku Paruvakkatru

BEST ENGLISH FILM – Memories in March

SPECIAL MENTION – Bettada Jeeva (Kannada), Aadukalam (Tamil)

58th NATIONAL FILM AWARDS FOR 2010 – NON- FEATURE FILMS

1. BEST NON-FEATURE FILM – Germ (Hindi). Director : Snehal R. Nair

2. BEST DEBUT NON-FEATURE FILM OF A DIRECTOR – Pistulya (Marathi & Telugu). Producer: Nagraj Manjule. Director : Nagraj Manjule

3. BEST ETHNOGRAPHIC FILM – Songs of Mashangva

4. BEST BIOGRAPHICAL FILM – Nilamadhaba

5. BEST ARTS and CULTURE FILM – Leaving Home (English & Hindi)

6. BEST SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY FILM – Heart to Heart (Manipuri & English)

7. BEST PROMOTIONAL FILM – Ek Ropa Dhan (Hindi)

8. BEST ENVIRONMENT FILM – Iron is Hot (English)

9. BEST FILM ON SOCIAL ISSUES – Understanding Trafficking (Bengali, Hindi & English)

10. BEST EDUCATIONAL FILM – Advaitham (Telugu)

11. BEST FILM ON SPORTS – Boxing Ladies (Hindi)

12. BEST INVESTIGATIVE FILM – A Pestering Journey (Malayalam, Punjabi, Hindi, English & Tulu)

13. SPECIAL JURY AWARD – Kabira Khada Bazaar Mein (Hindi)

14. SHORT FICTION FILM – Kal 15 August Dukan Band Rahegi (Hindi)

15. BEST FILM ON FAMILY VALUES – Love in India (Bengali & English)

16. BEST DIRECTION – Shyam Raat Seher (Hindi & Engish). Director : Arunima Sharma

17. BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY – Shyam Raat Seher (Hindi & English). Cameraman: Murali G.

18.  BEST AUDIOGRAPHY – A Pestering Journey (Malayalam, Punjabi, Hindi English & Tulu). Re-recordist (final mixed track) : Harikumar Madhavan Nair

19. BEST EDITING – Germ (Hindi). Editor : Tinni Mitra

20. BEST NARRATION (for Writing the Narration) – Johar : Welcome to Our World (Hindi & English) Nilanjan Bhattacharya

21. Special Mention : a. Ottayal (One Woman Alone) ( Malayalam) – Director: Shiny Jacob Benjamin b. The Zeliangrongs (Manipuri & English) –  Director : Ronel Haobam c. Pistulya (Marathi & Telugu) – Child Artist: Suraj Pawar

58th NATIONAL FILM AWARDS FOR THE YEAR 2010 – BEST WRITING ON CINEMA

1. BEST BOOK ON CINEMA

From Rajahs and Yogis to Gandhi and Beyond: Images of India in International Films of the Twentieth Century (English)

Publisher : Seagull Books Author: Vijaya Mulay

2. SPECIAL MENTION

1. Cinema Bhojpuri (English)

Publisher : Penguin Books India Ltd. Author : Avijit Ghosh

2. Thiraicheelai (Tamil)

Publisher : Trisakti Sundar Raman. Author : Oviyar Jeeva

3. BEST FILM CRITIC

Joshy Joseph (English) and N. Manu Chakravarthy (Kannada & English)