‘We would have won more national awards’

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Vasiraju Prakasam
Vasiraju Prakasam

Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: The year 2008 is a watershed for aesthetic films in Telugu since the industry achieved a rare distinction of bagging three national awards, according to Vasiraju Prakasam, Member of Jury – 2008.

On the flip side, however, is the Telugu film industry’s apathy towards sending entries for the national film awards. Only 11 entries were submitted for this year’s awards. “If producers had entered more films, we would have won more awards,” Mr. Prakasam, said in an interview here on Saturday.

He pointed out that only 40 to 50 each of Bengali and Malayalam films were made every year.

Yet, they bagged a good number of the 57 awards in the feature, non-feature film and documentary film categories. Telugu film releases, in contrast, number 120 a year, second only to 175 films in Hindi.

He is pleased that three totally different films – ‘Hope’ (best film on social issues), ‘Kittu’ (animation film) and ‘Kamli’ (best regional film) – were chosen by the jury out of 172 awards in all categories and languages.

What delights him is that 70-year-old film-maker D. Rama Naidu played the lead role in the film which sends out a strong message against suicides. It was produced by Policherla Venkata Subbaiah and directed by K. Satyanarayana.

Equally satisfying for him is the award for ‘Kittu’ (producer K. Bhargava, director Satya, and animator Kodavanti Bharaj) as it shows that an animation film in Telugu has attained national stature. ‘Kamli’ though won the best regional film award by highlighting the problems faced by tribals in Telangana. Nandita Das, as the tribal girl who rebels against the hospital, which attains notoriety for swapping of infants, stands out. The film was directed by K. N. T. Sastry.

Five-fold increase

This year’s highlight, according to him, is the five-fold increase in the prize money in all categories.

Furthermore, the I & B Ministry had made it mandatory for Doordarshan to telecast all these films and offered to promote them in the international market.

Mr. Prakasam, who completes 47 years in the field of journalism today, was a Member of Jury in the ‘book writing and journalism’ category. He said he is pleased that many good books on films were being published now in Telugu. “I see a bright future in this field,” he said.

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