Actress-dancer Vyjayanthimala Bali, actors Karthi, Sasikumar, Prabhu Deva, Prasanna and Vijay Sethupathi, and composer Yuvan Shankar Raja were among the 201 recipients of the Kalaimamani Awards, handed out by the Tamil Nadu government after a gap of eight years.
At a function in Chennai on Tuesday, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami handed over the awards to artistes for the years 2011-2018. The government also announced an increase in the weight of the gold medals, from three to five sovereigns, while the financial assistance given to elderly artistes will increase from Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000.
Actor Nasser, president of the South Indian Artistes’ Association (SIAA), or Nadigar Sangam, released a statement thanking the Chief Minister and Kadambur Raja, Minister for Information and Publicity, and the chairman (composer Deva) and secretary (dancer Chitra Viswesaran) of the Tamil Nadu Iyal Isai Nataka Manram, a unit of the Directorate of Art and Culture, which gives away the awards.
Among the awardees are dancer-actress Vyjayanthimala Bali, who received the Balasaraswathi Award for excellence in dance, actors Kutti Padmini (2011), Prasanna (2013), Pandiarajan (2013), Nalini (2013), Ponvannan (2014), Madhu Balaji (2015), Prabhu Deva (2015), Sasikumar (2016), MS Bhaskar (2016), Thambi Ramaiah (2016), Soori (2016), Vijay Sethupathi (2017), Priyamani (2017), Srikkanth (2018), Santhanam (2018), and music composers Vijay Antony (2015), Yuvan Shankar Raja (2017), directors Chithra-Lakshmanan (2011), lyricist Yugabharathi (2015), and cinematographer Rathinavelu (2015) for excellence in cinema.
The Chief Minister also said in his speech that from 2020, three additional Kalaimamani awards will be given in the name of former Chief Minister and AIADMK supremo, the late J Jayalalithaa.
This year, all winners received ₹1 lakh, a citation and a certificate. Writers, dancers, folk artistes, musicians, and practitioners of 72 art forms were recognised under Bharathi Awards (literature), MS Subbulakshmi Award (music), and more. Eight senior artistes were selected for a special cash award. Dancers CV Chandrasekhar, musicians C Saroja and C Lalitha and TV Gopalakrishnan, poet Pulamaipiththan, Villu Paatu fame Subbu Arumugam and author Sivasankari were among the awardees.