To tell you the truth, we are not big fans of Salim Kumar the comedian. Before the arrival of Suraj Venjaramoodu, we thought he was simply irritating. After watching amazing comedians like Jagathi Sreekumar and Innocent, Salim Kumar was a let down. In fact we will be snobbish and say that there is not a single Salim Kumar comedy we liked.
But there is a different Salim Kumar who has acted brilliantly in two movies we have seen. One is Achanurantha Veedu and the other is Kerala Cafe. Both movies are heart wrenching and Salim Kumar simply ceases to be Salim Kumar and becomes the character. You see a side of him you have never seen before. He is involved and is able to trigger various emotions inside the viewer. The 10 minute role in Kerala Cafe is particularly hard to see as he toggles helplessness, sadness and cruelty all together. Any lesser actor would have botched it up.
We have not seen Adaminte Makan Abu. Apart from the jury members, we don’t know who has. But from the trailer it looks like a deeply sad movie. When even Suraj Venjaramoodu is serious, you know it is not an ordinary movie. Here is the story in a nutshell from Wikipedia.
The film is about Abu (Salim Kumar), who has been dreaming of performing the holy pilgrimage to Mecca , despite severe financial constraints. Abu is an old vendor selling Yunani medicines and Athar, roaming around the streets of Malabar. The film chronicles the difficulties that the old poor couples of Malabar encounter to go for a much hoped Hajj pilgrimage.
Now if you look at the three movies, Achanurangatha Veedu, Kerala Cafe and Adaminte Makan Abu, Salim Kumar portrays a single emotion. He is helpless and sad. Is that the range emotions he can portray? Is that narrow range of emotions sufficient to win the national award or the state award? It looks like if you portray sadness, your performance is considered better than those who have not. For example, look at the state awards for Kavya Madhavan and Mamta Mohandas. Both depict unhappy people. Note that while Salim Kumar has won the national award, an actor with infinite range like Nedumudi Venu has never won it. And that is exactly what ticks us off.
That said, we completely disagree with these lines which was reported today:
Salim Kumar has lashed out against Ranjith’s comments and said it is just sour grapes. Meanwhile there is a feeling among certain section of the industry that those who do comedy roles should not be equated with Mammootty and Mohanlal. This has led to a division in the industry.
There is nothing called Comedy Actor. In Malayalam, all comedy actors do character roles as well and that is their strength. Going by this logic, even Mammotty and Mohanlal should not be considered for awards because they do comedy movies like Pokkiri Raja and China Town.