Pradhana Vizha 2016: Everything You Need to Know & More...

Mark your calendars for 17th September 2016, for the 15th edition of Vasantham’s prestigious industry awards, Pradhana Vizha! A total of 27 awards will be presented to the best in the local Indian television industry. For the first time, the glitzy and glamourous awards show will be held at the brand new state-of-the-art 1,500-seat theatre, The Theatre @ Mediacorp. 

This is going to be one long post. The first half will be complete information overload on the nominations and the second half will cover the criticisms and controversies surrounding the awards ceremony and our suggestions on how they could improve.

Performance Awards
Best New Comer 1) Durga Naidu 2) Jabu Deen 3) Kartikeyan Mayakrishna 4) Shreedhee Sajeev 5) Sri Venkatarageavan
Best Child Artiste 1) Grijisha 2) Piravin 3) Sanchala 4) Sankari 5) Srihari

Best Host  (Variety) 1) Bharathi Rani 2) Jaynesh Isuran 3) Saravanan Ayyavoo 4) Vimala Velu 5) Vishnu M. Anandh

Best Host (Info-Ed) 1) Anandha Kannan 2) Hayma Malini 3) Indra Chandran 4) Karthikeyan Somasundaram 5) Vikneswary Se

Best Actor  1) Gunalan Morgan 2) James Kumar 3) Jaynesh Isuran 4) Karthikeyan Somasundaram 5) Puravalan Narayanasamy

Best Supporting Actor 1) Haaran Pjey 2) Karthikeyan Somasundaram 3) Kathiravan Kandavelu 4) M.S. Lingam 5) Logan Ponnusamy

Best Actress 1) Eswari Gunasagar 2) Indra Chandra 3) Shafinah Banu 4) Udaya Soundari 5) Vikneswary Se

Best Supporting Actress 1) Indra Chandran 2) Kokila Gobinathan 3) Nithya Rao 4) Shafinah Banu 5) Vikneswary Se

Best Actor/Actress in a Negative/Villain Role 1) Dhivyah Raveen 2) Mathialagan M 3) Morganavel Selvarajoo 4) Rishi Kumaar 5) Soundrarajan Jeeva

Best Actor/Actress in a comedy role 1) Jamuna Rani 2) Jayaram 3) Jaynesh Isuran 4) Nagharaj 5) Soundrarajan Jeeva

 Programme Awards





Technical Awards





In recent years, the awards ceremony has received some flak for alleged favouritism and not being impartial. The common opinion on the ground is that the same faces get recognised all the time. As the ONLY awards ceremony of its kind in Singapore, it is extremely important that we strive for perfection. We decided to email the good people at Vasantham to get some answers so that this post is not entirely based on hearsay and speculation. In the interest of transparency, we have lifted the email exchange between Vasantham and us without any edits.

The Guru Project: Could you share some insight on the nomination process?
Reply from Vasantham:
Judging Process
1. Call for Nomination goes out to production companies which have produced programmes for Vasantham in the qualifying period.
2. Production companies are requested to submit nominations in the Programme, Performance and Technical categories.
3. The nominations are judged by a panel of judges from Singapore and overseas.
4. The scores are then collated and then audited by an external audit company.
The Guru Project: How is this narrowed down to top 5? what is the criteria? What is the process? 

Reply from Vasantham:
Top 5 in each category is derived from the scores of the judging, as per the scoring criteria for each category.
The Guru Project: What happens in a scenario, where a production house does not nominate a person due to personal conflict etc? Is that the end of the road for the artiste?  Can an artiste nominate himself for an award? 

Reply from Vasantham:
As per Awards shows in the region and internationally, production companies which have produced for the broadcaster are invited to submit nominations for the Awards. And based on our experience, production companies send in nominations of their best performing artistes, so as to improve their chances of winning.
The Guru Project: As per our conversation, the layman's opinion seems justfied; same people get nominated, alleged favouritism, considering 4 people are getting nominated in 4 catergories. 

Reply from Vasantham:
This clearly shows the versatility of our artistes – that they are talented in various fields of acting and hosting.
The Guru Project: Can you also provide stats on first time nominations in categories other than " best newcomer". This might dispel the above notion.

Reply from Vasantham
Here are the first time nominees for PV 2016: Haaren Pjey, Logan Ponnusamy, Jamuna Rani, Nagharaj, Grijisha, Piravin and Sankari. Including the nominees in the Best Newcomer category, the newcomers account for more than 25% of total artistes nominated this year.

Firstly, kudos to the team at Vasantham for being forthcoming and entertaining us.  I would not pretend that the replies actually answer the questions in completion but hey, its a good start.

In almost every social setting where the topic of discussion does move towards media, you are bound to find haters. These haters are usually those with media ambitions themselves. Their complaint is usually centered upon the " its always the same old faces" argument, which is not necessarily false. 

If you look at the Most Popular Personality Award nominations in this years Award and the previous one in 2014, we can rest our case. 

They are pretty much the same faces indeed. When you actually think about it, you probably would realise that this particular award is actually completely unnecessary. In fact, it represents everything that is wrong with the Indian Media in Singapore. The sad truth is that It is popularity that motivates most media ambitions. We fail to realise that popularity is a by-product of talent, not the other way round. How many of these nominees are actually formally trained in acting? While formal training is not the only way to hone your craft, but it should  at the very least be the fundamental way. 

Discovering New Faces / Talent

Sometimes, it might be unfair to blame the channel for featuring the same faces, when it is the production houses that creates  these programmes and casts the talents. They are the ones that submit the nominations for Pradhana Vizha as well.

So, how do we get around this? Perhaps the Channel could shoulder a bigger responsibility in ensuring we continue to unearth new talent. The in-house production house (Eaglevision) could be used solely as a house that only casts new talent and trains them for their first 12 months and cannot keep an artiste beyond that training phase. 

Every role in a Vasantham drama could be determined via an open audition which must take place only with the presence of the programmes' commissioning editor from Vasantham to ensure the auditions take place in a meritocratic manner.

Allowing more Production Houses Opportunities

While we do welcome the "Best Telemovie" category, it does raise questions when 4 out of the 5 nominations are from one particular production house, Millenia Motion Pictures (MMP). To be honest, you really cannot blame Yahssir and Team for being awesome at what they do. But perhaps, it is time for Yahssir to push his own limits. Maybe a feature film, that could be co-produced by Vasantham. This could free up other production houses the opportunity to showcase their talent instead of leaving it conducive for rumours. One such ridiculous rumour that we heard is that a Vasantham senior staff is a silent partner in MMP and that makes it possible for them to have an advantage in snagging the the telemovie opportunities. Absolute rubbish, if you ask us. 

Giving Technical Awards and other Performance Artistes  Equal Importance

We need to move towards a culture where our technical artistes are as recognised as our actors. Its about time we have our own Mani Ratnams, PC Sreerams, Na. Muthukumars in our own folklore. We also need to go beyond just acting. There are plenty of amazing dancers and singers and musicians in our community. Vasantham should go beyond having a drama and info-ed and variety staple. We need embrace every talent in our community. 

While the most popular song category is present, it could also include details of the composers , lyricists, singers, musicians etc. This is all about recognising talent, isn't it ?

While we do have best direction and editing categories, we should be nominating the individuals instead of just the programme and the production house. It is really strange that this is one Country where the Production Houses are more famous than the talents that ensure their existence.

Nominations For Pradhana Vizha

Where nominations for Pradhana Vizha is concerned, productions houses should not be the sole determinant for nominations. Perhaps, next time round, they should have us as part of the jury. This could prevent allegations of favouritism and unfairness from creeping in.

Pradhana Vizha to be a Yearly affair

We are a full channel with quality programmes year round. Having a yearly awards ceremony will not affect its prestige or value. On the contrary, it would make more sense instead of having a bizarre situation where you have Annamalai 1, 2 and 3 competing against each other. 

With that, we believe we have covered everything. Do let us know if we have missed anything. We will be more than willing to include it in. Thank you!

[Ed Note: If you must know who my vote is for, it is for Varman and Eswari. One's a friend and I want him to win it. The other should win this purely by merit.]

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