Very few award shows for Tamil cinema can be taken seriously. The State awards are completely politicized and are usually announced very late while the awards at the other shows are usually handed out based on who can make it to the awards function(since many of these are held in foreign spots like Singapore, Malaysia and Dubai, the free sightseeing trip would probably act as more of an incentive for the participants/winners than the awards themselves). But over the years, the Filmfare awards and Vijay TV awards have earned some respectability both with respect to the quality of the shows, the presence of stars and the validity of the awards themselves. Part 1 of the Vijay Awards show for 2014 was telecast today.

The show seemed a little less star-studded than last year. Among our top stars, only Kamalhassan and Dhanush were present. No Rajni, Vijay(who has apparently been at all previous Vijay awards shows), Ajith(no surprise there since he doesn’t participate in any awards shows), Suriya, Vikram or Simbhu. There was no special high profile guest, unlike the 2014 show which had Shah Rukh Khan add some additional star power. Trisha and Nayanthara were also no-shows though other popular heroines like Hansika, Lakshmi Menon and Amala Paul were present. Ilaiyaraja was present but we saw little of him after his entry.

There was nothing much to complain about the awards themselves. It was strange to see Dhanush win the best actor award(for Velaiyilla Pattadhari) after he was so heavily involved in promoting the show(he and Anirudh hosted the curtain raiser in London). I also felt Amala Paul didn’t deserve to win the best actress award(again for Velaiyilla Pattadhaari) for what was a good performance in a lightweight role. But her win only highlighted the weakness of the category, which can be seen as an indictment of Tamil cinema since it just goes to show how few good roles our actresses get). But the recipients of many of the other awards(Karthik Subburaj – best director(Jigarthanda), Dulquer(Vaayai Moodi Pesavum) – best debut actor, Kalaiarasan(Madras) – best Supporting actor, Seetha(Goli Soda) – best supporting actress) seemed quite deserving.

Gopinath and DD, who hosted the show, prompted the winners to talk by asking them how they felt, which just felt silly. But the speeches of the winners is one aspect where the show felt better than the Oscars. The Thank Yous were quite short and there were many good moments. Some of the highlights were Dulquer doing a dubsmash with Dulquer, Dhanush talking emotionally about his mom after accepting the best actor award, Kamal reminiscing about AVM when presenting the award for contribution to Tamil cinema and Shobi dancing a few steps after winning the best choreography award.

The most fun performance came from Shruti Hassan as she danced to a medley of his songs. It was nice seeing her repeat some of his famous steps in songs like Raja Kaiya Vecha… and Kamal showed that he is still quite sprightly as he joined her on stage to dance to Rum Bum Bum…. There selfie at the end was a cute moment too. But the best performance of the show came from Tamannah. She had some good moves during the long performance and maintained her energy right to the end. Lakshmi Menon’s dance looked more classical and the props also brought in a Kerala touch. The performance by the India’s Got Talent kids is an awards show staple. The first acrobatics show was great(and even a bit scary at times since they didn’t have a safety net) but the the next segment had a little boy and an even more little girl dance to some age-inappropriate songs and execute some age-inappropriate steps and that turned me off. So I Ff-ed the rest of the performance.

Many of the important awards are done but the second installment next weekend has some more awards and also what I like to call the ‘crowd-pleaser’ awards – awards in categories that provide opportunities to award the mass heroes, popular heroines and masala films by being called ‘Favorite’ rather than ‘Best’ awards. With these awards and Prabhu Deva’s dance performance, I think the next part will be as entertaining as today’s show.

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