Jayaraj’s Hasyam wins laurels at Russian film festival

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COVID-19 did not let him travel to Russia, but he won the prize for the best script

Jayaraj was a bit surprised when he received an invitation from the office of a film festival in Russia. The Cheboksary Film Festival requested him to enter his film Hasyam for the competition section. He was also invited to travel to Russia.

That was in March. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he could not go to Cheboksary to attend the festival, which was held earlier this week.

On Saturday, the Russians surprised Jayaraj, yet again.

Festival producer Dmitry Pirkulov mailed to him stating that he had won the festival’s award for the best screenplay. Attached with the mail were pictures of the statuette and the certificate. In these strange times, that is probably the best thing to do, but Pirkulov has assured Jayaraj in the mail: “Now I’ll try to find a way how to pass you Diploma and Prize.”

They may take some time to reach Jayaraj’s home at Kottayam, but the seasoned filmmaker is willing to wait. He is delighted that his screenplay was honoured at a European festival. Back in 2016, Jayaraj had won the Crystal Bear at the prestigious Berlin festival for his Ottal.

“I am glad that the script of Hasyam has been recognised by the jury of an international festival,” Jayaraj told The Hindu. “I had no plan to send the film to the Russian festival, but a member of its jury had watched the film at the International Film Festival of Kerala and recommended it.”

Hasyam, starring Harisree Ashokan and Sabitha Jayaraj in lead roles, is the eighth in the director’s series on Navarasa (nine emotions). Ashokan plays a cadaver agent in this film of black humour.

Hasyam had also won me the Padmarajan Award for the best script,” said Jayaraj. “That also meant a lot to me. The Padmarajan Award is special because it is the only one which gives more importance to the scriptwriter than the director.”

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