The inaugural Ulagam Awards successfully took place at the Putrajaya International Conventional Centre (PICC) on January 13, and many artistes got honored for their contributions to the local entertainment industry.

We spoke to several award winners from the show, including Karthik Shaamalan, Yuvaraj Krishnasamy, Ravin Rao Santheran, Santesh, Shalini Balasundaram and GV Kathir. Here's the interview:

Could you share your experience at the Ulagam Awards?

Karthik: I took home two awards which were ‘Best Script [Telemovie]’ for ‘Naran’ and ‘Popular Series of the Year’ for ‘Kalyaanam 2 Kaathal’ season 1.

Yuvaraj: I was awarded ‘Popular Lead Male/ Female [Telemovie]’ for ‘Aadi’ and ‘Popular Lead Male [Series]’ for ‘Kalyaanam 2 Kaadhal’ season 1.

Ravin Rao: I won two awards including ‘Ulagam Shining Star [Telemovie & Series]’ for ‘Manmadha Bullets’ and ‘Popular Actor/Actress in a Supporting Role [Telemovie & Series]’ for ‘Kalyaanam 2 Kaathal’ season 1.

Santesh: I was awarded ‘Popular Malaysian Tamil Song of the Year’ and ‘Popular Music Composer of the Year’ for the song, ‘Shocked’.

Shalini: I won ‘Best Director [Telemovie)’ for ‘Sara’ and ‘Best Director [Series)’ for ‘Mente’.
GV Kathir: I took home ‘Best Cinematography [Telemovie]’ for ‘Naran’ and ‘Best Cinematography [Series]’ for ‘Kalvanai Kandupidi’.

Please share memorable moments from the title you won.

Karthik: I’ve been involved in the local film industry for almost 13 years and have thoroughly enjoyed the writing process. As for the award received, ‘Naran’ discusses a social issue while handling a crime investigation. I would like to thank Astro for the support given end-to-end, and also, to audiences for their support. Separately, the journey of ‘Kalyaanam 2 Kaathal’ season 1 wasn't easy, be it from the script writing to execution. I dedicate these awards to the team of hardworking technicians who worked day and night. While I did not expect any award, winning awards for ‘Naran’ and ‘Kalyaanam 2 Kaathal’ season 1 were indeed blessed moments.

Yuvaraj: I have been actively involved in the local film industry for almost 8 years now. For the telemovie ‘Aadi’, I played a very tough character which required risky and lengthy 8-minute shots taken during climax scenes with minimal supervision and a single take, as per the director’s request. Preparation for a 6-minute scene took almost two hours. On the other hand, every day for ‘Kalyaanam 2 Kaathal’ season 1 was special to me. I played ‘Harish’, the lead role which was a bit complicated. I, however, managed to pull it off with guidance from Karthik Shaamalan, one of the finest local directors.

Ravin Rao: I’ve had experience directing since 2014, including working with Karthik Shaamalan in 2018. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work on numerous series in 2020 including ‘Kalvanai Kandupidi’, as well as the series I won awards for: ‘Kalyaanam 2 Kaathal’ season 1 and ‘Manmadha Bullets’. I am very happy to win awards for the characters I played in Manmadha Bullets, ‘Krishna’, as well as ‘Bintang Terang’ from ‘Kalyaanam 2 Kaathal’ season 1. Thanking my fans on stage was a memorable moment that is close to my heart.

Santesh: Apart from my father, listening to the music from legends like Ilaiyaraaja, Michael Jackson, AR Rahman and Darkkey inspired me to venture into the local music industry. I was a finalist in Vaanavil Super Star 2011, a participant for Vaanavil Super Star 2012 and won singing competitions ‘Iklon’ (2011) and Superstar Asia Challenge (2013), and an award at Anugerah Industri Malaysia (AIM) for ‘Best folk song of the year’ for my first single. I produced two successful albums ‘Silap Kahwin’ and ‘Tangkap Basah’, besides my single, ‘Katthi’, which gained 50 million views.

I also had the privilege of performing with Dato David Arumugam (Alleycats) and also, in the presence of the legendary singer, S. P. Balasubrahmanyam. I also ventured into my own production company, and made it into the Malaysia Book of Records as the fastest music video to reach a million views with ‘Amalina’, which I worked with Harry Khalifah. My dream to be a playback singer in India came to life as I sang ‘Uruttu’ from ‘Enna Solla Pogirai’ film. Thanks to Vivek Mervin for the golden opportunity.

Shalini: I have directed three theatrical films thus far and I dedicate this award to all my fans out there who’ve always showered me with so much love and support.

GV Kathir: I started in the industry in 2013 as a production assistant and my first milestone as director of photography (DOP) was for theatrical movie ‘Ennaval’. ‘Poikaaran’, ‘Sokka’ and ‘Sagiyae’ (Singapore) gained a million views on YouTube and were some of the most significant music videos that contributed to my career growth. Up to date, I’ve worked for multiple Astro series such as ‘Kalvanai Kandupidi’, ‘Asura Vettai’, ‘Swara Layam’ and ‘Maniratnam Vanthachu’; and Astro telemovies including ‘Naran’ and ‘Raam Leela Lockdown’.

Please share your message to your fans.

Karthik: Thank you for accepting ‘Kalvanai Kandupidi’, ‘Kalyaanam 2 Kaathal’ season 1, ‘Naran’, ‘Maniratnam Vanthaacu’ and ‘Nakkeeran’. I will continuously improve content delivery and ensure I provide high quality content in the future. Also, keep encouraging new talents who are trying hard to deliver good content. Your encouragement will definitely change this industry.

Yuvaraj: Fans and well-wishers are my biggest assets that I have gained in this industry. I wouldn't be who I am today without their love, support and encouragement. I will continue striving for betterment as an actor and filmmaker with their blessings and endless support.

Ravin Rao: I would like to thank each and everyone who has supported me since the beginning of my career and those who voted for me. I promise to keep entertaining the audience as much as I can.

Santesh: I would like to extend my gratitude to my dear wife, Rajeswary Malaiandy, my parents, Sukumaran Vija Chitra Saraswathy, family, friends, teachers, followers, fans, managers, Rabbit Mac, Sheezay, Psycho Unit family, Rentak Angkasa production team and media friends. Huge thank you to Astro and RAAGA for all the opportunities given.

Shalini: Thank you for the beautiful journey given to me by all the fans out there, spread love.

GV Kathir: To everyone who is striving for success, if you believe and constantly put in hard work for something you are passionate about, you’ll definitely reach the heights you wished and dreamed for. I’ll keep entertaining viewers with many more quality visuals.