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08. No Hidutva in my Film - Shyamaprasad
     by the Staff Reporter, The Hindu, 21st March 1999

The film director, Mr. Shyamaprasad, has sid that it was never his intention to subscribe to the Hindutva view through his movie "Agnisakshi".

He was reacting to the controversy over his film "Agnisakshi", which won eight awards, including the awards for the best film and the best director at this year's State Film Awards, at a meet-the-press programme organized by the Kesari Memorial Trust her on Saturday.

"What exactly is Hindutva? If a nilavilakku and poonol (sacred thread) on screen are what constitute Hindutva. I am that such a comment has come from someone like P Govinda Pillai," he said.

He also termed s "unfortunate", the controversy over this year's State Film Awards.
"The film community, though it is a close group, seems to be lacking sportsman spirit. When a jury has been constituted for judging the films, you should be able to accept their verdict," he said. Or else, such criticism should develop into a serious discussion on cinema rather than a personal grudge campaign.

"Awards are not the last word that qualifies you as a film maker. Ultimately, it is the people who judge your movie and your merits as a film maker. This controversy is silly," he commented.

He also felt that in portraying the film, he had done justice to the original novel by Mrs. Lalithambika Antharjanam and that he had not "missed" the radical elements in the story.

"This novel should not be clubbed along with novels such as "Adukkalayil Ninnu Arangathekku" or "Rithumathi", which belong to the renaissance period of Malayalam literature. More than the sociological perspective, the novel has certain universal elements which transcend time - this story could take place in any community. "It is about certain essential moral values of man, and his confrontations with fate. It is very spiritual in essence - this does not mean that it stems from a particular religion. It is these timeless values which I have tried to portray in my film", Mr. Shyamaprasad said.

He said that today, the commercial and entertainment elements that had to be packaged into films for reaching them to theatres had gone up so much that even for a sensitive, tender movie like "Agnisakshi", marketing problems were terrible. The State Government outfits like Chalachitra Academy should be able to help serious film makers market their movies.

He said he could not claim himself to be the spokesperson for either good or popular cinema. "I stand as the spokesperson for my own films. In the nineties, no film maker can afford to take a purist stand that he will make only artistic movies. My work should give me creative satisfaction, it should uplift me and also give me sufficient financial backing to get on with my artistic pursuits," he said.

His future projects? He would love to make a movie based on Kamala Das's "My Story," Mr. Shyamaprasad said.
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