Acclaimed director Priyadarshan, who on Thursday signed his acceptance to chair the jury of the 64th National Film Awards, says winners will be chosen only on merit. The 60-year-old veteran director said this is the first time that he is going to hold this post, even though he has chaired the jury for the Kerala State Film Awards.
“I am now getting mentally prepared for this huge responsibility and the only thing on my mind right now is to see that the only criterion which will be before me when we see the films, is the merit in each of the films,” said Priyadarshan. He said his long innings in the film industry will be what he will fall upon to guide him through till he prepares the list of winners. Priyadarshan got a mail on Wednesday, asking him for his consent to be the chairperson of the jury. He signed it and sent it to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Thursday.
“I am told that we will have to watch around 86 films which have been selected by four regional juries. We will start viewing the films from March 16 of this month and by the middle of next month, our job will be done,” added Priyadarshan. When years back, Priyadarshan headed the Kerala State Film Awards jury, his house was stoned by angry fans of a superstar who failed to get the award as it went to a seasoned character actor. Later that year, Priyadarshan’s selection came true after the same character actor won the National Film Award for the best actor.
In his long innings of 35 years, Priyadarshan has directed 91 films. His movie “Oppam”, starring Mohanlal, released last year and became a hit.
In the past, Priyadarshan has graced the winners’ list of National Awards. He had won the Best Feature Film honour in 2007 for Kanchivaram. Besides this, his epic 1996 Malayalam film Kaalapani, which told the story of freedom fighters in the jail at Andaman and Nicobar Islands, won three National Film Awards, including the awards for Best Art Direction (Sabu Cyril), Best Special Effects (S.T. Venky), and Best Cinematography (Santosh Sivan).