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11. Award Presented
     ML Narasimham, The Hindu, August 20th 1999

"I cannot think of making films, as a product for consumption. I think a film is a very effective medium and it can communicate much more than any other media. For me film making is an attempt to understand the intricacies of truth and express it in my own subtle way. With "Agnisakshi" (based on a novel) I have been successful to an extent in winning public appeal. Meaningful cinema can also be made into an enjoyable fare." Said debutant director Shyamaprasad, receiving the Gollapudi Srinivasa Memorial Foundation's "Gollapudi Srinivasa Award for the year 1998", at a function held at Music Academy, Chennai, recently.

Perhaps this is the spirit with which Gollalpudi Srinivas, son of veteran writer-actor Gollapudi Maruthi Rao, started his debt film, "Prema Pusthakam" seven years ago. But fate dealt a cruel blow and he died in 1992. The Gollapudi family instituted an award in his memory, the award carries a cash prize of Rs.One lakh, a memento specially designed by Bapu and a plaque to the given to a debutant director every year. (The first such award for 1997 went to Leslie Carvalho for his English film, "The Outhouse").

Before the start of the main function, a short film on Srinivas and on the work of Shyamaprasad made by Rajiv Menon was shown. Ajith, who made his debut with "Prema Pushthakam", Subhasini and S.P. Balasubrahmanyam spoke about Srinivas.

The "Gollapudi Srinivas Memorial Lecture", was delivered by the renowned film maker, Mrinal Sen. The lecture carried a cash award of Rs.10, 000 and the topic was 'Cinema and Social Values". He talked at length about the movies that appealed to him in terms of social content right from the silent movie era from 'Joan of Arc' (1928) to the Chaplin films to the second of Satyajit Ray's Apu trilogy - "Aparajitha".

The guests of honour were Mahesh Bjatt, K. Viswanath and Kamal Hassan. At the award ceremony, Mrinal Sen felcitated Shyamaprasad with a shawl while Mahesh Bhatt presented the memento. Shyamaprasad's Agnisakshi; was selected for the award, out of ten entries from various languages.

Incidentally, "Agnisakshi" won the regional best film award as well as nine Kerala State awards, including one for best director. Apart from the award presentation ceremony, two persons enlivened the evening's proceedings - a commendable and touching compering by actress Revathy Menon and a ghazal concert by Pankaj Udhas.
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