Pazhassi fought the British. He acted under Hariharan’s direction on MT’s script. You would think that is sufficient for a national award. It was a magnum opus movie with considerable logistics and some terrific acting by Mammotty. But for the national jury, that was insufficient. According to Ranjith, they gave the award to a latex mask. Shaji Karun has also expressed unhappiness.
But in our opinion, both Shaji and Ranjith are wrong. They missed an important criteria by which the national jury looks for talent. It is not about historic nature of the script or acting. It is not about latex masks either.
The most important quality, especially when Amithabh Bachan movies are involved, is voice. Remember Agneepath. In 1991, while whole Kerala was expecting Tilakan to win National award for his performance in Perumthachan, the jury shocked the world by giving the award to Amitabh Bachan for his performance in Agneepath. What did Agneepath have, which no other Bachan movie of that era did not have? A voice change. Other than that he was template Bachchan, a role he could have done in his sleep. And in the same token in the movie Black, it’s the voice(or lack of it)which won him 2nd National award(Mr.Bachan uses sign language in that movie).
Now look at Paa. You cannot see his face. You cannot see his eyes. You cannot know his emotion. You can hear a different voice. So this is what Hariharan should have done. He should have made Mammootty speak with the voice of Pattanathil Bhootam. That should have the scared the British more than the guerilla warfare.
The award would have been Mammootty’s for taking. Or better, Johny Antony, director of Pattanathil Bootham should have been courageous enough to submit that movie for awards.
We hope Dileep and Abhishek Bachchan are paying attention to these tips.