Let's talk awards...

G.V. Subbarao... promoting clean cinema. Photo: S. Arneja.  

AN ENTHUSUASTIC young director Srinivas, the youngest son of famous scriptwriter Gollapudi Marudhi Rao, was shooting his debut film "Prem Pustakam" in 1992 at Vizag. He was standing atop a high hill, almost on the edge. He wanted to shoot the island below so he moved back and in a fraction of a second he vanished from there. His head had hit the hard rock below where he slipped and died instantly.

The family, consisting of his father, two brothers and his wife as he married only nine months ago, did not lose cool. Instead, to keep his memory alive, they instituted an award in 1997 for the best new director, that they named Gollapudi Srinivas National Award that carries an award of Rs. one lakh.

Though even an award like the Indira Gandhi National Award for the Best Director does not carry any cash but Gollapudi family decided to give cash too. "A debutant director gets chance and encouragement to start a film but it is difficult to find sponsors initially, hence we decided to give the cash award which we will increase to rupees one-and-a-half lakh from next year," informs G.V Subbarao, Srinivas's brother who was in New Delhi to announce the award for 2002 that goes to Ram Madhwani for his film "Let's Talk" in English. The award will be presented this coming Tuesday at Chennai while Kamal Hasan, Shekhar Kapur and Govind Nihalani are expected as guests of honour. What is the criterion for selection? "The film should be decent with aesthetic values that one can see sitting with family," says Rao.

Earlier these awards were given to Leslie Cavalho for "Out House" (English), Shyama Prasad for "Agnissakhi" (Malayalam), Manu Bora for "Baibhab" (Assamese), Subrata Sen for "Ek Je Ache Kanya" (Bengali) and Janaki Viswanathan for "Kutty" (Tamil).

"Lets's Talk" is about different reactions of a husband whose pregnant wife tells him that she isn't bearing his child, informs Rao.