Wednesday, 27 December 2017

The 2nd Annual Suki Awards- 2017

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It’s that time of the year again and The Annual Suki Awards is back for it’s 2nd Edition. The Suki Awards is a small effort from my side to reflect on all the Tamil films that I watched in that year and come up with my own nominations for each category and its winner.

Last year’s edition saw only 5 categories in with which are as of below

Best Song- Won by “Thali Pogathey”
Best Supporting Actor- Won by Vijay Sethupathi for “Iravi”
Best Actress- Won by Rithika Singh for “Iruthu Sutru”
Best Film- Won by “Visarnai”
Best Actor- Won by Athakathi Dinesh for “Visarnai”

In the 2nd Edition, we decided to push up a gear higher and double the number of categories to 10. This year’s Suki Awards will see the following categories

Best Supporting Actress
Best Supporting Actor
Best Song
Best Music Director
Best Villain
Best Screenplay
Best Director
Best Actress
Best Movie
Best Actor

The nominations and winners here are done purely based on Tamil Films which I HAVE WATCHED ONLY. There if it is a film I am yet to watch, the movie, cast and crew will not be considered for the nomination and awards.

Here is a list of films which I have watched in 2017.

Now let’s kick start the event today with the very first category, The Best Supporting Actress. And the nominees are:

Andrea Jeremiah as “Pritha” In Thuparivaalan
Anjali Varadhan as “Emily” In Aruvi
Madonna Sebastian as Young “Poonthendral” In Pa Pandi
Nithiyaa Menon as “Aishwarya Vetrimaaran” In Mersal
Varalaxmi Sarathkumar as “Chandra” In Vikram Vedha

And the winner is Nithiyaa Menon for her bold portal in “Mersal”. Nithiyaa Menon took on the role with full of grace and dominance playing it to a near perfect execution. Without a doubt she is a deserving winner and we hope to see more films from her in a capacity as a lead heroine in 2018.

Moving to next award, it is for The Best Supporting Actor. This was indeed a very tough category for me to pick my 5 nominees and a couple of actors who did give excellence performances had to be omitted out as there is only 5 nominees

The nominees for The Best Supporting Actor are:

Azhagam Ravi as “Barnabas” In Taramani
Bharathiraja as “Sundaram” In Kurangu Boomai
Bose Venkat as “Sathya” in Theeran Adhigaram Ondru
M.S.Bhaskar as “Krishnamurthy” In 8 Thottakal
Ramdoss as “Winnings” In Maanagaram

At the start of the year I was very confident that Ramdoss will take the award for his portrayal as “Winnings” in Maanagaram, but then M.S Bhaskar performance in 8 Thottakal just blew me away and he is the winner of The Best Supporting Actor in the 2017 Suki Awards.

I urge you strongly to check out the scene whereby M.S.Bhaskar sits in the cafeteria and narrates a story to hero in this film. It was indeed top-class performance.

It is time for some music and now we have the award for The Best Song award. 2017 was a great musical year and we were blessed with too many amazing songs. It was almost impossible to pick just 5 songs as the nominees. I had to hear back all the songs a countless number of times and here are the nominees of The Suki Awards Best Song:

Aalaporaan Thamizhan from Mersal
Iraiva from Velaikkaran
Vaan from Kaatru Veliyidai
Venpani Malare from Pa Pandi
Yaanji from Vikram Vedha

And the winner is Aalapooraan Thamizhan. This is a song which never fails to give me the goosebumps every time I hear it. There is something magical about this song which words can’t describe.

Moving on now is time for The Best Music Director Award. The Best Song Award is given for the judgement of one song only while The Best Music Director Award is to be judge upon the completeness of the overall album and the BGM of the film.
The nominees are:

M.M. Keeravani for Baahubali 2
A R Rahman for Kaatru Veliyidai
A R Rahman for Mersal
Sean Roldan for Pa Pandi
Sam CS for Vikram Vedha

Once again, this was indeed a tough decision to make. Every music director gave something very special and memorable in these films but there can only be 1 winner. The 2017 Suki Awards for The Best Music Director foes to…… A. R Rahman for Kaatru Veliyidai.

With that we are done with the music elements of the awards and now we have a category which I am most excited about. It is The Best Villain Award. 2017 has seen a great number of powerful villains come forward and it is good to see actors embracing these roles. I’m a firm believer that the more powerful the villain is, the more it makes the hero to stand out.

In the spirit of that here are the nomination for The Best Villain Award

Abimanyu Singh as “Oma” In Theeran Adhigaram Ondru
Elango Kumaravel as “Shekar” In Kurangu Boomai
Rana Daggubati as “Bhallaladeva” In Baahubali 2
SJ Surya as “Sudalai” In Spyder
Vinay as “Devil” In Thuparivaalan

The winner for The Best Villain Award goes to SJ Surya for his performance in Spyder. This is a category that had so many actors providing strong performances, but it was hard to pick a winner in it as what SJ Surya showed in Spyder was something very special and a class of its own.

Moving on next is to The Best Screenplay Award and the nominees are

Kurangu Boomai
Theeran Adhigaram Ondru
Vikram Vedha

I believe all these 5 films had amazing screenplay written in it. Many moments in the film did “wow” me and after much consideration the winner for The Best Screenplay is Maanagaram.

With screenplay comes direction and here is the nomination for The Best Director Award:

Arun Prabhu Purushotaman for Aruvi
H Vinoth for Theeran Adhigaram Ondru
Lokesh Kanagaraj for Maanagaram
Pushkar-Gayathiri for Vikram Vedha
SS Rajamouli for Baahubali

The winner of the 2017 Suki Awards for Best Director goes to SS Rajamouli for Baahubali 2. When the film was released I mention that this film was out world class film making technique and I stand by it. The effort put in to create a whole new world is a step in the right direction for Indian Cinema. Congratulations SS Rajamouli, I hope Baahubali 2 will be a stepping stone for more film makers to go down the path you laid upon

Now moving the main event of the award show. It is time for The Best Actress Award. 2017 has been a fantastic year as more films are being designed in a manner where the heroine has a vital scope to play in the film and have a say in the story. Now here is the nomination for The Best Actress Award.

Aditi Balan as “Aruvi” In Aruvi
Aditi Rao as “Dr Leela Abraham” In Kaatru Veliyidai
Andrea Jeremiah as “Althea Johnson” In Taramani
Madonna Sebastian as “Malar” In Kavan
Rakul Preet Singh as “Priya Theeran” In Theeran Adhigaram Ondru

It was a 3-way horse fight for me in this category between Aditi Balan, Aditi Rao and Andrea Jeremiah. The performance of these 3 actresses should be highly praised as they played 3 different characters in a manner you can’t think of someone else to replace them.

However, the one actress that seemed to have a little extra in her compared the rest for me personally was Aditi Balan and she is the winner of 2017 Suki Awards Best Actress. In what was a very close fight among the three of them, Aditi Balan had a slight edge on the other two as her character in the film was an AIDS patient and she went all out to score on that. Well done Aditi Balan, you are a very much welcomed addition to the film industry.

Now it’s time for the Best Film Award in the 2nd Annual Suki Awards. The quality of films this year has been excellent and here are my top 5 nominations:

Kurangu Boomai
Theeran Adhigaram Ondru
Vikram Vedha

It is an impossible task to pick a winner from this 5 quality films. Each film was so well crafted, it is indeed difficult to pick a flaw from any of it. However, we need to come down to one winner and the winner is Aruvi. Aruvi was a film which is best describe as an emotional roller-coaster. It makes you feel all kind of different feelings in a span of a film length and thus it edges ahead to win the award.

And now the moment we have been waiting for. The final award of the night. Who would bag The Best Actor Award in the 2017 Suki Awards. The nominees are:

Jayam Ravi as “Jara” In Vanamagan
Karthi as “Theeran Thirumaran DSP” In Theeran Adhigaram Ondru
Raj Kiran as “Power Pandi” In Pa Pandi
Vasanth Ravi as “Prabunath” In Taramani
Vijay Sethupathi as “Vedha” In Vikram Vedha.

5 actors playing 5 different characters in 5 films which were unique in their own way. It wasn’t easy to compare one actor’s performance to the other. The 5 of them were truly amazing in the films they acted. And here it is, the winner of the final award as The Best Actor in The Suki Award goes to Vijay Sethupathi for his brilliant performance in Vikram Vedha.

In the 2016 Suki Awards, Vijay Sethupathi bagged the Best Supporting Actor for his role in Iravi. A year later he claims the Best Actor Award today. Vijay Sethupathi is an actor who has had an amazing rise and there are no doubts about his qualities.

Congratulations to all the winners of The 2017 Suki Awards. It is my great pleasure to do this and see you guys back again in The 2018 Suki Awards next year.

Here you go, an award for the winners :P

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Wednesday, 20 December 2017

In The Lime Light: Karthik Shamalan (Part 2)

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Link to Part 1 of In The Lime Light With Karthik Shamalan

If a random person walks up to you and says he/she wants to be a film director, what would be the first thing you tell them.

"First thing is make sure you know the basics and make sure you have the interest to keep learning. I still have the fear in me because I didn’t have the basic film background. When I first started, I was condemned. People kept asking what does this guy knows about cinema. What they ask wasn’t wrong.

The first thing people asked me was “do you know what is 3 act structure?” At that point I really didn’t know what that was but I knew that a movie should start like this and end like this. I was surprised when people asked me this and the person who asked me this was a very big person.

After that I took a decision that moving forward no one should ever ask me a question like this and I should be ready for any type of question. Therefore, until today I am constantly learning because I am always worried that tomorrow a big director asks me some other term and thinks that what la this guy doesn’t even know this. I have that fear.

And that’s the same thing I will tell those who asks me about wanting to be a film director. It hurts when someone condemns you, but you shouldn’t see it that way and turn it around as weapon for yourself.

You should learn the basics and come. Doesn’t mean you have to go to a film college, but if you go it is better. It is okey if you didn’t. Google is there and everything you need is there. That is how I learned as well. All you need is the interest to learn.

You need to know the basics of what is script writing, why scripting writing, what is direction and why direction. I always ask them what do you do as a director. They need to know that."

What do you think about our people reviewing films. Should it be encouraged. How would you define a properly done review?

"I’ll be honest with you. The moment you are letting someone to view your product, you must accept the feedback that comes from that person. Especially if they are paying to watch your product, then they have all the rights to say whatever they want because they have paid for that.

At the same time, you must remember one more thing. If a person who pays RM 15 and watch a film can say so many things, you as a director/producer who puts in RM 150, 000 has the rights to take in what only I need to hear. If this is understood, reviews won’t be an issue and it should be encouraged.

In fact, I think reviews are one of the best thing that came to Malaysian Tamil Cinema and it should develop more as it allows film makers to learn from it.

For example, you told that you felt EVT was a little draggy at parts. I did it intentionally, but you were not the only one to say it. Which means next time, if I am going to do something like that again, I should treat it in a different way where you don’t feel draggy.

There is no such thing as a proper review. There are 2 types of audience. One who understands films and another who doesn’t. A reviewer should be able to give a review which satisfy both these audience which is understandable for them."

In your opinion, despite various directors providing quality films, theater occupancy reminds low. How can we unlock this issue to get more audience?

"End of the day you need to know 2 things. One, you really need to be strong with your marketing. Which means you need at least RM 100,000 to RM 150,000 in your hands just for marketing.

Second, if you don’t have this money, then you need to be ready to sacrifice your movie to build an audience for the Malaysian Tamil Film Industry. You need to do either one of it. It is either you sacrifice your movie with low collection and build your audience for your next film or have the money to do good marketing and build your audience."

Who would you nominate next to be interviewed by Boggler Blogger?

"I think you should interview Shanjhey Kumar Perumal of "Jagat". He is a man who is really living for Malaysian. I think Malaysians should really appreciate him and celebrate him. I think you should interview him next."

With that, this is the end of In The Limelight With Karthik Shamalan. I hope to come back to you with another big name interview soon. Stay tuned and don't forget to like our Facebook Page in the link below

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Saturday, 9 December 2017

In The Lime Light: Karthik Shamalan (Part 1)

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The young crop of Malaysian Tamil film directors have been making waves recently and there is one guy who I have looked up highly. He is none other than EVT Fame Karthik Shamalan. Recently I had the luxury of meeting him and picking his brain for an interview

P/S: This is going to very long interview

Post EVT, people know you as a director but as far as I understand you had a different career previously. Tell us what was Karthik Shamalan doing previously and how you became a director. If haven’t you become a director, what would you be today?

“First of all, I come from an accounting background (Master’s in Accounting) and I was working in an accounting firm based in Taiping. I was doing audit checking & taxation. That was my favourite and that’s about it. Basically, I love teaching and I don’t know why. So, I really wanted to teach and while I was studying I decided that I would either be a teacher or director.

I come from a science stream background when I was in school and my parents wanted me to be a doctor and my grades were good enough to be one. It came to the point where they would have to pay for my education and I didn’t want that. In fact, I didn’t like that they would need to take up a loan to make a doctor.

So, without mentioning that to my parents I applied for a course without even knowing what it was. I have no idea about accounts. My friends were applying for accounting so I decided to join with them.

Since I have no idea about being an accountant so I decided that I would finish my degree and become a lecturer. While I was studying, I felt in love with auditing and tax. It was very interesting. Then, one of my lecturer said that most students who works in auditing tend to struggle much because what we study is very much different to what we would be doing as work.

Then I decided, I would work a year as an accountant and know everything about it before I start my career as a lecturer so that I can share to my students how working as auditor in real life is all about.

I joined the firm and voluntarily requested to my boss that I want to be in auditing. He asked me why and I said I want to learn everything about auditing to be a lecturer. He was shocked and asked me that I didn’t want to be an accountant and I said no I want to be a lecturer.

For 1 ½ years I worked as an audit assistant and after covering pretty much about audit, I quit my job as an audit assistant. Then I begin teaching. I became a tutor in Stamford College Melaka. After that I moved to UCSI to be a lecturer in auditing and taxation.

Life was very nice back then and even back then without telling much people I was already doing short films. I had my screen name as Karthik Shamalan. Yes, my actual name is not Karthick Shamalan, that was just my screen name which I wanted to make it into a brand. My actual name is Jagatesh.

So yeah even that time I used to do lots of short films and send for competitions but always failed in winning it. Back when I was in Melaka, I did a handy cam movie titled “Karthik Shamalan” which was 90 minutes and screened it in TAFE College.

It got very good reviews and after only I started thinking about being a full-time director but it was not possible yet financially. I continued doing short films, about 10-12 of them. Then came the BMW Shorties competition. First year Sanjay Anne won for his short film called “Macai”.

We got excited by it and started trying it out the following years. I tried for the 2nd edition but didn’t get. The 3rd year my movie (SRK) got nominated for best actress. I though okay that’s something at least not bad. The following year we tried again with the movie called “Mudhal Naal Indru” and we got 9 nominations. Following up on that, an article came up in the newspaper and only after that all my other lecturers knew that I was Karthik Shamalan and asked me why was my name different.

I told them I wanted two different lives. One was for my passion and the other was for my family. I don’t want to mix them up. Karthik Shamalan was for my passion and Jegathes was for my family. It was now that I decided I wanted to work on MTK but it was hard to concentrate on my script writing while being a lecturer.

So, I took the leap of faith, quit my job and never told my parents about it thinking I could manage it by my own. Despite teaching part time, I couldn’t sustain it and two months later I told them all about it. They gave a year time that I need to prove myself as a director or go back working.

I had 12 months for MTK. I started the film in December and was focused on releasing it by the following December. Thank god by September I released it and my family loved the film and since I was making money out of it and they were okay about it. So that’s how my whole journey to be a director happened.

And if direction & films never worked out anymore, I would go back to lecturing. I love teaching so much and I would be happy to go back to it."

 How do you view the world today?

“I believe in karma in fact I believe in Buddha a lot. I have a different approach about life and still finding about it. I reflect that in my movies where I try to find something in them, like my characters in the film should have a seek and go towards that.

For example, if you take this moment, you were born somewhere, raised somewhere, with your passion and I was born somewhere, raised somewhere, with my passion and both our passions met and today the both of us are sitting and talking here. Your writing is words while mine is visuals, but I don’t know how that it met each other and introduced me to you.

That’s life, so many unique things happens without us knowing and I am always seeking for it. I have always seen that life is a process of learning which begins when another person dies. We learn from someone when they are dead not when they are alive. The people who we look up to as examples are all dead. I wanted to change that a little. I wanted to teach that now and I use to do it in my classes and that’s why I went into lecturing. I wanted to teach people, I wanted to create someone and I wanted to make my students as an example to the society.

There shouldn’t be jealousy or ego and if you notice one thing, the rain that drops from the sky and the water that is at down at the ocean has never felt ego about each other or compete. They both have their own things to do. I was enjoying doing this with my students. I was enjoying my life.

When I left teaching for film making, I thought this world would be even more beautiful because I will be doing something that I love. In the end, I realize that as much as there was good hearted people here, there are some people who didn't seem honest. People were talking about competition and jealousy here. I don’t get it what jealousy should be here. Jealousy is not something that should exist in the entertainment world. I will not say jealousy is all over but some of them, but I should thank many good hearted people who showed me loved and guide me without hesitation.

Example if you were to go for a fun fair there will be many tents and people would go to all of it and they won’t complain that my tent is down while you have a big Ferris Wheel on the top. I thought it was going to be like that in the cinema industry but when I came in I saw something very different.

People were complaining about other people. Seeing all this I begun avoiding myself from them. I don't mingle with many people and I started to remove my self from all those online WhatsApp groups except for a couple of them only"

How supportive are people from the film industry in terms of supporting fellow film makers?

“When EVT was released, I received so much of love from the public. Not only they loved what I did but they appreciated what I did. That’s a big thing, to appreciate another person’s effort. They don’t have to do that and just do their own work. That’s a big thing. They spend their money for you and two hours of their life watching your work and appreciated you. That’s something special.

But if you were to look within the cinema industry, I felt that only those who knew me kept encouraging me. Not all of them shared about my film. I can tell that openly that not everyone in the industry shared about my film.

We have more than 600 people in the industry as the bare minimum, and I think about 150 of them only shared it. I am very thankful and blessed to have them this 150 to 200 people. The question is what happen to the balance 450 people? Why can’t you see this as a family?

If you see this as a family, there can be a big change within us. I really don’t know where to ask this question. Because if I am going to ask this question “why are you not sharing”, I would be labeled as the bad one going against the us in the industry. No, I love you all, that’s why I am asking. Where were you when my movie was released?

Malaysian movie industry is more than 1000 people and if that 1000 people thinks means they can help a film reach out to another 5000 people on Facebook each and that would have made a big difference. About 500,000 people would have known about my movie. Not only my movie but everyone’s movie.

That’s until today I will share about every movie. Be it “Mama Machan”, “RIP” or whatever movie, I will share about it all because they deserve it and we are all one family. You don’t like the movie ah, go straight to them and tell them or you want to post it on Facebook go ahead because it is public opinion. You can do it that’s your choice.

But before the film is released we all should share about the movie and spread it to everyone. Everybody has the rights to stop promoting after the film was released if they don’t like the movie even if it is my movie. Unfortunately, they were already missing before the film was released.” 

Andddd that's a wrap for Part 1 of "In The Limelight: Karthik Shamalan". Stay tuned to this page as we will bring to you Part 2 soon!!

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