As we have written somewhere in one of our posts about National Award winners, Indian film awards handled by Government of India are objective for the most part to a fault. That doesn’t mean they couldn’t be influenced (very rare) or non-controversial. To the contrary. But they are more objective and well respected for their authentic analysis of films and performances for the most part.
With this in our minds, let’s see if there could be an improvement in the way the 2019 National Awards are selected yesterday. A majority of the awards are uncontested as usual. Marakkar: Arabikkadalinte Singham might not have hit the theatres, but based on expectations and quality and scope of the subject, the Mohanlal’s period epic a great choice. Similarly, Dhanush in Asuran is a tour de force. And that award is well deserved. Awards for Bengali films in screenplay category - for Gumnaami and Jyeshthoputro - are similarly great choices.
But when it comes to Telugu films, it’s a mixed bag. That Maharshi received the Best Popular Film For Wholesome Entertainment is a proud moment for Telugu Cinema (a well deserved award). The same Mahesh Babu starrer is conferred upon with Best choreography is not just a controversial choice, it was termed a joke by many.
While Jersey is well deserved winner for Best Film In Telugu (it’s as good for winning Best Film itself), ignoring smaller films like Brochevarevarura whose screenplay is one of the best written in Indian cinema in the 21st century, is indigestible for movie buffs. The film was consistently ranked in some of the best film lists alongside Jersey. Yes. Jyeshthoputro is a great choice, but Brochevarevarura could well share the award. Sometimes, when it comes to Telugu, well deserving smaller films are often ignored for the sake of bigger and popular films. At least the smaller film lost out to a Bengali classic than a mediocre but popular Telugu film.