CHENNAI: Glitz, glamour, fashion and emotional speeches — this year’s Behind Woods gold medal award ceremony held at the ITC Grand Chola on Sunday had all this and more. With 67 categories and 81 awards, this function stands out because of the extensive reach that it has managed in just its second year. Rajnikanth, Manorama, A R Rahman, Anirudh, Kamal Haasan, Vairamuthu and many more were presented gold medals for their contribution to Tamil cinema.
“This is the first time I have got an award for dialogue writing,” said ace filmmaker K S Ravikumar for penning dialogues for the animated movie Kochadaiyaan. He received the award from veteran director S P Muthuraman, who spoke about the 25 films he’s made with Rajnikanth playing the lead, “It’s been a long and amazing journey. I’m proud to be a part of this function,” he said.
Actress Hansika Motwani who made a very brief appearance, won the award for Best Performance in movies Aranmanai and Aambala. She walked the ramp and grooved to one of her movie songs, making the audience to go crazy.
The highlight of the day was Kamal Haasan’s appearance, when he was awarded the K Balachander award for excellence in Indian cinema — a first time category. “His name is written in my soul, now you have given me a medal which also has his name. I’m very humbled to have received this medal,” he said. Veteran filmmaker A C Tirulokachander and Pushpa Kandasamy, daughter of the late K Balachander presented the medal to Kamal. They also played a small animated clip where KB was congratulating the actor for his win. “The fact that he is not here with us anymore has still not sinked in. So this video had not really made any difference, but I thank you for making it though,” he added.
Visually challenged singer Vaikom Vijayalakshmi won the Best Female Singer medal for singing in the movie Yennamo Yedho. When requested to sing a few lines after receivng the award, she instantly agreed and sang two songs from her Tamil movies. Singer Unnikrishnan, praised her for her discipline and dedication to music, “She is all about music, she keeps thinking about it, learning more and she also talks to me about it. She is one-of-a-kind and deserves the best,” said the singer. It was also a big night for Unnikrishnan as his 11-year-old daughter Uthara also won the award for best child singer for her song Azhagu. “It is indeed a double treat, on one hand my dear colleague Vijayalakshmi is awarded and on the other, I’m presenting another award to my daughter. I hope that she makes everyone proud,” he said.
Actors Dhanush and Vijay were awarded with People’s Choice and Best Actor for VIP and Kaththi respectively. As both were busy with their schedules, their parents made it to the event. “There is nothing like receiving an award for your child’s achievement, “ said Kasturi Raja, director and father of Dhanush. Vijay’s father S A Chandrashekar, recalled the days when his son was struggling, “When I initially made movies with him, people would taunt me saying that I had a lot of money to waste. However I did give him a platform, it is only his dedication and hardwork and the amazing filmmakers he had a chance to work with that has made it happen. And not to forget, his fans. He is nothing without you all.” This comment drew thunderous applause from the crowd.
Madras and Goli Soda took away most awards for best lyrics, screenplay, direction and editing. “We had been toying with this idea for seven years, but finally a nod from Lingusamy sir and others made it happen. This has been a wonderful experience. We wish to do something more creative,” said director Vijay Milton of Goli Soda. On request from the host, Madras movie director Pa Ranjith spoke about his untitled venture with Rajnikanth.
“He’ll be playing an ageing gangster and I’m not revealing any more details,” he said. Music director Nivas K Prasanna, who was also awarded for his work in the movie Thegidi ended the evening by playing a few tunes from his repertoire.