The Chennai Times Film Awards 2012

The Chennai Times Film Awards 2012 goes to...

BEST FILM — Thuppakki

"I think Thuppakki is a fine example of a commercial film that is racy, entertaining and at the same time, conveys a message without sounding preachy," beams Kalaipuli S Thanu, producer of the Vijay-starrer. He says, "It all started when Ilayathalapathy Vijay introduced me to A R Murugadoss and said that we could make a film together. I was game for it, and told Murugadoss that I didn't want to hear the story as I trust him. But he sent me a one-liner, and I was mighty impressed. The film is what it is because of the team work — Vijay, Kajal, Santosh Sivan, Harris Jayaraj and Sreekar among others — and that's why the film went on to be a part of the 100 crore-club. And I'm thankful to the audience for voting for us."

BEST DIRECTOR — Balaji Sakthivel ( Vazhakku Enn 18/9)

The critical raves for his film Vazhakku Enn 18/9 are still fresh in Balaji Sakthivel's mind and the director credits the success of the film to the media which celebrated his film.
"The Times Of India was the first to lavish praise on the film, calling it the best film of the year even at the time of its release and Chennai Times is now decorating me with the best director award. I'm profoundly grateful for this honour," says the director, who credits his producers and his team for making the film a memorable one.

"Generally, there is a notion in the industry that audiences do not like serious films and will not watch these films. This award effectively disproves the notion as it is the public that has voted me as the best director," he adds.

The flood of awards has also made him more responsible in deciding on his next project, says the director. "This award has added to my responsibility as a filmmaker and forces me to strive and come up with an equally good film in the future as well," he smiles.


Kolaveri. Tell that one word, and you'll know which music composer we're talking about. The young Anirudh, who burst onto the scene with 3, which featured the viral hit Why This Kolaveri Di, has several Tamil films lined up currently. So, how did he land this film? A lot of people do not know that it was actually because of a short film for which he'd scored music. Recalls Anirudh, "Those days, Dhanush kept saying that I'll make it big someday, but I thought he was pulling my leg! When he wanted me to compose music for the film, I was just 19 and in my final year of college. The offer was sudden and unexpected — just like the success."

On winning the Chennai Times award, Anirudh says, "3 has been winning me awards in several functions, and that continues. I thank Chennai Times for this honour." He adds that he'll continue to compose good music. "At 21, I can't ask for more. I wanted to taste this kind of success at 25, but I'm grateful to God to have showered it on me so early in my career."

Best Singer Male — Haricharan (Aiyayayo Aanandhame from Kumki)

If you tune into any of the singing talent hunts on television, one of the songs that's very popular with contestants is the Aiyayayo Aanandhame song from Kumki. Sung by Haricharan in his inimitable style, the melody has struck a chord with Kollywood film fans. The fact that the singer delivers both the upper notes and lower notes with equal ease has come in for much praise among critics.

Receiving the award, the singer says, "I thank Chennai Times and all the people who voted for me. Credit is due to the music composer, D Imman, and the entire team of musicians who have worked to make the song a success."

Interestingly, though the singer is a true-blue Chennaiite, his 'rural-style rendition' of the number is said to be one of its major highlights.

Best Singer Female — Ramya Nsk (Satru Munbu from Neethaane En Ponvasantham)

It was a much-anticipated album, as it marked the combination of Gautham Menon and Ilaiyaraaja for the first time. And, one of the highlights of the album was the catchy Satru Munbu number, crooned by Ramya NSK.

A big Raja sir fan, she says, "After my hit in Telugu, Poovai Poovai from Dookudu, I was called by Raja sir to sing for a Telugu movie titled Gundello Godhari. That was my first song for him."

The natural Western timbre in her voice is what made Raja pick her for the song in Neethaane En Ponvasantham.

"He's a true legend and now, singing for him makes me become a part of his legacy. He had a lot of kind words to say about my voice. I continue to work with him on other projects too," she says, and adds, "I thank Chennai Times and everybody who liked my work in Neethaane En Ponvasantham."

Best Lyrics — Vairamuthu (Para Para from Neerparavai)

Lyricist Vairamuthu considers this award to be a people's award as it is the public that has voted for him and bestowed this recognition upon him. He says that he is especially glad that lyricists are being recognized with this award. "A lyricist isn't a person you can ignore; he is a very important figure in cinema, connected to language, and I'm glad that Chennai Times understands this and is recognizing the lyricist," he says and adds that even as times change, Tamilians do not fail to notice and reward well-written lyrics in songs.

"I share this award with Neerparavai's director Seenuramasamy, composer Ragunanthan, and GV Prakash, Chinmayi, and Shreya Ghoshal who sang the song," says the veteran, who believes this award will motivate him to continue writing good songs. "I wish that this award is given to truly deserving individuals every year," he quips.

Best Actor in a comic role — Santhanam (Oru Kal Oru Kannadi)

Given that he is in almost every alternate film that releases these days, it is really tough to zero in on one single performance of Santhanam to call him the best comedian. But there is no doubt that his comic lines have an extra zing whenever he teams up his good friend Rajesh and OKOK is yet another proof of this.

"I'm happy to be recognized as Best Comedian 2012 by the readers of Chennai Times. I thank my fans and everyone who voted for me," says Kollywood's 'Santa', who wants to share his glory with Rajesh, Udhayanidhi and the entire team of OKOK.

In his typical witty style, he remarks, "Award vandhu kasangipona sattaiku kanji podra madhiri (an award is like starch to a wrinkled shirt). Whenever I get a bit dull, getting an award recharges me and inspires me to work harder and get the award the next time as well. This award has energized me."

BEST ACTOR IN A NEGATIVE Role — Sudeep (Naan Ee)

Director S S Rajamouli's Naan Ee, starring Samantha, Sudeep and Nani, is a romantic fantasy fiction about a guy who reincarnates as a housefly to get his revenge. And Sudeep, who played the man at the receiving end of the fly's wrath, is litterally flying high with the awards and accolades that have been coming his way.

He says, "There's not a single human on this earth who has not been tortured by a fly. While shooting for the film, it was more monoacting for me and that's what I had to keep in mind. It was the clarity that Rajamouli had given me and he was there in case there was any confusion."

Promising newcomer (male) — Sivakarthikeyan (Marina)

When Sivakarthikeyan got the opportunity to be part of Pandiraj's Marina, he had no idea his life would change for the better. "When I got an offer to do a film with Pandiraj sir, I immediately accepted it. I wasn't thinking of the future, and gave it my best. But guess I was destined to debut with the film and I'm glad I did. The film gave a boost to my career, and now, I'm happy to be winning awards for my performance as well," he smiles, "I thank Chennai Times and everyone who voted for me."

Promising newcomer (female) — Lakshmi Menon (Sundarapandian)

Looks like the Sasikumar-starrer Sundarapandian is proving to be lucky for Lakshmi Menon. "I've won several awards for my role in the film, and winning the Chennai Times Award has given me a boost. I feel proud and happy to have had an opportunity to work with a seasoned actor and director like Sasikumar. Director Prabhakaran felt I would be the right choice to play the female lead and I'm glad I've lived up to his expectations. Most of the sequences were filmed inside the bus, and it was an experience I will cherish for years to come," she says.

BEST Youth Film — Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom

Debutant producer Rajkumar could not have asked for a better script as NKPK continues to win him awards. For director Balaji Tharaneetharan, NKPK bagging the award for the Best Youth Film is a vindication. "There was one producer who told me that my story was good, but asked me if it will work with the youth! I am thankful to my producer Rajkumar, who understood what this film is about. I thank my cast and technicians who supported me throughout the making of this film," he says. Vijay Sethupathi says that he holds NKPK close to his heart as "it was a challenging film for me as an actor."