In what could come as a disappointment for the fans of superstar Mohanlal, the actor’s last year blockbuster Oppam will not be contesting for the National Film Awards. In addition to emerging as one of the top grossing Malayalam films of 2016, the crime thriller had also won a lot of critical appreciation. However, this year it won’t be seeking to contest in any of the National Awards categories due to a technical problem.
Oppam is directed by Priyadarshan, who has also been appointed to head the jury of the 64th National Film Awards. According to rules, the members of the jury cannot have their films in the contest in order to avoid conflict of interest. That applies to Lalettan’s Oppam too.
Oppam was the favourite choice during the last year’s awards season. The film also won the Best Actor, Best Director and Best Film awards at Kerala Film Critic Awards. It even made it to the final rounds of Kerala State Film Awards in Best Film and Best Actor categories. However, eventually, it lost its nominations to other critically acclaimed films. While director Vidhu Vincent’s Manhole bagged the Best Film award, Vinayakan took home the Best Actor trophy for his gripping performance in crime drama Kammatipaadam.
With 35 years of experience in the film industry, Priyadarshan has 91 film titles to his credit. He has done more than 30 films with Mohanlal and directed movies in Tamil and Hindi too.
According to reports, he has been sent a list of 380 films that are being considered for the National Awards in different categories. However, earlier he was told that the jury will be watching about 86 films starting March 16 and the screening of the films selected by regional juries will go on for a month in Delhi.
Earlier, describing his appointment to head the jury as a big responsibility, Priyadarshan had said that the films will be chosen purely on merit basis. “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,” he had said.
Priyadarshan’s films have won multiple National Awards in the past. He had won the Best Feature Film honour in 2007 for Kanchivaram, while his epic 1996 Malayalam film Kaalapani won three National Awards.