Cinematographers turning directors is nothing new. The list of such achievers includes P C Sreeram, Santosh Sivan and Rajeev Menon.
The latest entry to the club is K V Anand, who won the National Award for Priyadarshan's Thenmavin Kombathu. Anand's debut film is called Kana Kandein.
Its puja at the AVM Studios was a grand affair, with directors like Rajkumar Santoshi and Shankar in attendance. Anand's guru P C Sreeram took the first shot, while Santoshi did the 'clap.'
The cast of the film -- Srikkanth, Prithviraj, and Gopika -- added glamour to the festivities.
Anand's assistant Sundarajan will be the cinematographer for Kana Kandein.
State awards announced
While Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy gave away the annual film awards for the year 2003 on Thursday, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa distributed the awards for the years 2000, 2001 and 2002 on December 3 this year.
Yes, it was after a gap of four years that the Tamil Nadu government restarted the award distribution. It also coincided with the Jayalalithaa government's initiatives to tackle video piracy.
The Kerala awards were more in tune with the National Awards. Rajiv Vijayaraghavan's Margam, which won the Swarna Kamal for the Indira Gandhi Award at the national level, bagged best picture.
Nedumudi Venu, special jury award winner at the national level, bagged best actor. Meera Jasmine, who won best actress at the national level, did an encore at the state level as well.
Jayaram won a special award from the Tamil Nadu government for his performance in Thenali. He was seen cribbing light heartedly that even his son, child artist Kalidas, has won a National Award which has so far eluded him.
Unlike the Malayalam film awards that went to offbeat films, commercial cinema ruled the roost at the Tamil Nadu awards.
Murali, Surya and Madhavan won best actor awards and Devyani, Sneha and Meena won best actress.
Screen couple Ajith and Shalini also won special awards. Shalini won the award for Alai Paayuthey, her last film, released years ago!
Jayalalithaa urged the film industry to make films with strong social messages and shun violence and vulgarity on screen. She also wanted them to portray the police with dignity.
Vivek turns hero
Vivek has been making Tamil moviegoers laugh for years through funny one-liners. Almost every Tamil film has a separate comedy track by Vivek, parallel to the story, and he has his own group of people creating new gags and comic situations. He also tries to convey social messages through satire.
He is perhaps the only comedy artist with fan clubs all over Tamil Nadu, and the only comedian who is the brand ambassador of a soft drink (Mirinda).
Now, he has decided to be a hero in the film Solli Adipaen, to be directed by S A C Ramki.
Vivek has done everything in Solli Adipaen, from action to romance to dance and, of course, comedy. He has also sung a song for the film!
He is not giving up comedy, Vivek assures fans.
Kaazhcha, now in Tamil
Blessy's Kaazhcha, which hit movie halls recently, is a throwback to the golden days of cinema in Kerala, the era of Padmarajan, Bharatan and K G George. They were the champions of middle cinema in the 1980s. Not surprising, because Blessy learned filmmaking from the late Padmarajan.
Kaazhcha revolves around a Gujarati boy wandering into a small village in Kerala after the Kutch earthquake. A kind-hearted film operator, Madhavan (Mammootty), brings the child home. But law and red tape force him to leave the child in a relief camp in Gujarat. Madhavan's pleas to take the boy back with him to Kerala fall on deaf ears because the names of the boy's parents are still on the 'missing' list.
After ages, Mammootty has got a film to showcase his talent. All his other recent roles seem to have been written with his image in mind, and led to disappointing predictability.
The news is that Kaazhcha will be remade in Tamil, and this year's National Award winner Vikram is very keen on playing Mammootty's role.
Photographs: Sreeram Selvaraj