“The boy who was cast in the film
It is the first Hindi film to win the award
CHENNAI: Actor Aamir Khan is the winner of the Gollapudi Srinivas Memorial award for his directorial debut ‘Taare Zameen Par’.
The film tells the story of a dyslexic eight-year-old’s struggle within a conventional education system that brands him “idiot, duffer, lazy and crazy”.
Aamir directed the film and appears in the second half, where he plays the role of an understanding teacher who rebuilds the boy’s self esteem.
Announcing the award winner at a press conference on Saturday, actor Kamal Haasan said, “He (Aamir) could have chosen any theme that could have been self-serving to his stardom… but he underplayed himself.” Aamir worked four years as assistant director before making his own film.
‘Taare Zameen Par’ is the first Hindi film to win the award since its inception eleven years ago. The jury chose it from 19 nominations.
Singeetam Srinivasa Rao, veteran director and a jury member, said: “Casting is one of the responsibilities of the director. The boy who was cast was perfect.”
Mr. Rao said though the boy protagonist’s role was deglamourised, the film proved to be popular with the masses too.
The award has been instituted in memory of Gollapudi Srinivas, who accidentally drowned in the sea when he was making his debut film at the age of 26. His father Gollapudi Maruthi Rao said the national award honoured the best debut director every year.
The winner gets a cash prize of Rs.1.5 lakh and a memento at the award ceremony, to be held on August 12.
Some of the films that featured in the nominations list are: Gandhi, My Father; Honeymoon Travels; Thoovanam; Orudithor Puzhayundu; Thaniye; Cheeni Kum and Bommarillu.
Previous winners of the award include Leslie Carvalho, Shyama Prasad, Subrata Sen, Janaki Viswanathan, Shonali Bose and Rajnesh Domalpalli.