(The earlier title for this post was "Salim Kumar, we are proud of you!" But after the Mullaperiyar comment episode, I have changed it to the present one above).
If there was ever an under rated actor in Malayalam cinema, it is Salim Kumar, the talent that has won many a heart in Kerala with his comic performances that have in fact been the mainstay for many a movie. Most of his acts and dialogues have become cult classic favorites, and he has been a must see face in many comedy movies in Malayalam cinema with his impeccable comic timing, priceless expressions and classic one liners. But the versatility of his talent is not much known, that he can handle much darker, complex and serious roles with the same ease as he says "Melcow!" Now if that is not real talent, I do not know what is.
And today, he has been honored with the ultimate honor that this nation can bestow on a cine artist! Yes, he has been selected for the National Award for the Best Actor in a male role for the (Malayalam) film "Adaamite Makan Abu" (along with Dhanush for Aadukalam) at the National Film Awards 2011! And Adaminte Makan Abu has won the award for the best movie as well!!
He had shown his ability in portraying dense and in-depth characters before, with his roles in Achan Urangaatha Veedu (2006) for which he won the Kerala State film awards and in "Bridge" a segment of the anthology movie Kerala Cafe. He joins other greats P.J.Antony, Gopi, Balan K Nair, Premji, Mammootty, Mohanlal, Suresh Gopi, Balachandra Menon, Murali, Nedumudi Venu, Thilakan and Kalabhavan Mani to have brought pride to Malayalam cinema. And that too an actor who had to struggle his way up, with unassuming looks and only acting talent as asset, generally seen as an actor who plays comic relief and second fiddle to most established "Super Stars" and generally dismissed as a "slapstick comedy actor" and nothing more by "industry pundits". He was lost for long in the plethora of Amul baby star-sons, over rated super stars and general rabble raising noise makers who are given much more importance than they deserve. But not any more!
Super Ultra Mega Star Bharat Salim Kumar keee!
— vadakkus (@vadakkus) May 19, 2011
The amazing fact is that some of his most loved, widely quoted and remembered classic roles come from full-length slapstick comedy movies like Kalyana Raman, Chadikkatha Chandu etc. Never has there been such an underrated actor who was not given his due since Jagathy Sreekumar who has so consistently delivered on screen and has become an indispensable character in any movie today.
Dear Salim Kumar, you have made Malayalam cinema proud! We love you and we are proud of you! You have fought for your due and got it, not be pedigree or by "management quota", but because you deserve it! Way to go!! Congratulations!!!
MEDIA BLACKOUT - BOLLYWOOD PYAAR?
As usual, the so called "national" media has refused to accept this fact that Salim Kumar, along with Dhanush have actually won a National Award and is going to town tom-tomming Dabangg's win for the movie with "wholesome entertainment" - whatever that means, (Not even best film), which is just one award, totally ignoring all others. If you do a Google search for "National Awards 2011", you will feel that Dabangg has won all the awards! What a shame! Hey, that is not even a category! The best movie is the best movie! Dabangg is nowhere near to it! Give due where it matters!
This is nothing new, taking into account the media blackout and step motherly treatment that all regional language film industries usually receive compared to the trash that "Bollywood" dishes out. Well, dear media and Amits, there are other languages and great talent in India too, and they necessarily do not have to have six-packs, "Greek-God" like looks, zero-size bodies and skin color which will satisfy your colonial hangovers and Fair and Handsome ads. And of course, glamor and vanity does not mean talent. So stop lamenting about it!
What does it take to accept that regional movies are better than Bollywood? I know that many can't take it that regional language movies have better actors than Bollywood's white people, that their snobbery, that Hindi fixation and vanity has no impact and will not work in many parts of the country, that despite their best efforts they still have not managed to uproot regional film industries in favor of Bollywood and that Amits generally cannot digest the fact that most of the South is still "Hindi nahi maloom" country.
Natnl Awards: The time of the year when amits realise thaamil, thelgoo & maliyalam are not 3 diff dialects spoken in bangalore
— maxdavinci (@maxdavinci) May 19, 2011
[box type="shadow" ]I still believe Dhalapati is a greater classic than Sholay.[/box]
Please give due where it is due. Bollywood movies are just Indian movies in another language. Salim Kumar and Dhanush just proved that hype and snobbery does not mean talent.
(I still respect Salim Kumar as an actor and his characters he portrayed, but have no high regards for him as a person after his comments on the Mullaperiyar case. I also have learned my lessons on not to look at any actor beyond the characters they play)