Vijay Babu’s “Home” snubbed at Kerala State Film Awards, sparks row

PTI, May 28, 2022, 5:25 PM IST

A day after the 52nd edition of the prestigious Kerala State Film Awards were announced here, a controversy erupted over popular movie ”Home” failing to win a single award at the ceremony, as its crew wondered whether the sexual assault case slapped against its producer Vijay Babu was the reason for denying it the much-deserved honour.

As soon as the awards were declared, social media was flooded with critical comments against the jury ignoring the family drama, which was a huge hit on the OTT platform, especially ignoring the performance of senior actor Indrans, who played the protagonist.

Indrans, who was a state award winner last year, said the jury might not have seen the movie otherwise they could not ignore such a good cinema.

Admitting that he expected recognition for his performance in the film, which revolves around relationship issues in a middle-class family, the actor said it was the outcome of the sheer hard work of a group of people battling the COVID pandemic. ”… It’s not just about me, but several people including actress Manju Pillai who deserve the honour,” Indrans said.

Asked whether the case registered against Vijay Babu was the reason for denying the awards, he did not rule out the possibility.

”If one member of a family has done anything wrong, is it good to punish all members of that family? Ok.. Babu is named as accused in the case. But, what will happen if he is given a clean chit in the case? Will this movie be considered for awards again and screened before this jury again?” he asked.

The movie’s director Rojin Thomas and actress Manju Pillai too did not hide their despair over ”Home” being ignored for awards in any category.

However, eminent Hindi filmmaker and script-writer Saeed Akhtar Mirza, who headed the jury, rejected the charges and termed the controversy as ”ridiculous”.

He said all the members of the panel had seen the movie but it was nowhere in the final rounds in any category.

”Its a ridiculous accusation that the jury did not see the film. Every single member of the panel has seen it,” he told the media.

He also categorically stated that the sexual assault case has nothing to do with the selection of the movie.

To a query, Mirza said neither Indrans nor Manju Pillai was considered for the best actor or actress titles. Actor-producer Vijay Babu, who has been absconding since a rape case was registered against him, recently approached the Kerala High Court for anticipatory bail.

But, the court on Monday had said it will consider his plea for anticipatory bail only after he produces tickets indicating when he is going to return to India.

Babu, in his plea, has alleged that the rape case has been filed against him to blackmail him.

He has been accused of allegedly sexually assaulting a female actor and disclosing the survivor’s identity through a Facebook live session.

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