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12. From the Small screen to big one
     VP Raghu, News Today, 19th August 1999

It took over 10 years for cinema lovers to get the taste of talented movie-maker, R. Shyamaprasad's abilities since his first telefilm in 1987.

Nevertheless Shyamaprasad has always been comfortable with what he has been doing for the last many years, namely tele film-making. His first effort on the big screen Agnisakshi had received as much praise as he had got from the work done for the television media. His first movie, which was based on a famous Malayalam Novel under the same name Agnisakshi, has won many awards in the State and national level, not to mention about the recognition from other private film bodies.

The story of Agnisakshi was a familiar and famous one. And there was no need for convincing anybody about the possibilities of making it into a good film. 'And as far as I am concerned I have tried to be as sincere as I can to the story and not made any changes,' says Shyamaprasad, who was in Chennai to award for best debut director.

But, for a person like him, the medium of cinema was not easy to adopt as he had been working on television projects without making much compromises and he never viewed it as a big business proposition.

In cinema, one has to think of the commercial side and the possibilities of getting back the invested sum. This is not so with telefilms. Elaborating on it, he refers to the movie-makers an states that the directors are forced to make compromises'.

They have to think of the audience and distributors and all others connected with the industry before taking the plunge. However, he says that both cinema and television are creative media and that there is no doubt about it.

Further dwelling into the subject, he explains: 'In film-making you will have to interact with more number of people and hold discussions about the theme and the ideas'.

'The people in the field may have different ideas and styles. As you start interacting with these people at different levels, you end up making compromises. And no director can escape from this'.
On his style of functioning, Shyamaprasad says he does not work solely for the benefit of getting any award. 'I love to bring in more crowds and my target audience is definitely not the ones who watch only art movies' he says.

After making quite a lot of successful telefilm in the past, his entry into the film world itself had made news sometime back. Besides Agnisakshi, Shyamaprasad had also made another movie in the same period.

The film was Kallukondoru Pennu, which has not yet been released. Making it big in the world of movies is certainly not going to make him stay away from television. 'I am working on some new projects for a private channel and another movie project is also in the pipeline' he discloses.
The director, who has been making movies close to real life, has very limited number of favorite Indian directors. Like Shyam Bengal and among Malayalam directors, Padmarajan is my favorite' he says.

'There should be some realism in a movie and I will not make anything that is run-of-the mill stuff'. Turning to Agnisakshi, he says he would not work on another movie like that, particularly with the same back ground.

A student of School of Drama, this 8-year old son of BJP leader, O. Rajagopal, from Palakkad had been striking it on his own since he joined Doordarshan, Thiruvananthapuram, way back in the 80s.

Though his famous telefilms including Nilaavu Ariyunnu had won a prestigious award in Germany he preferred to come out of the clutches of premier television channel in search of creative freedom. Being the son of a BJP leader had also landed him in some controversies. Brushing aside the allegations of influence of his father in getting him awards, he says that his father has nothing to do with his work. Just because my father is a BJP man, it does not prevent me from taking up my job seriously. He is vehement when he says that.

Shyamaprasad and his cameraman friend, Alagappan, now run a film, Shoot N Edit' in Thiruvananthapuram. Almost all the work done by Shyamaprasad has been photographed by Alagappan.

Reminiscing on his past, Shyamaprasad says that after completing his course in School of Drama, he went to England and studied cinematography in the University of Hull, and then went on to make more than a dozen of telefilms like Venalinte Ozhivu, Peruvazhiyile Kariyila, Viswavikhyathamaya Mooku, Uyirthezhunelppu, Niramillatha Chitrangal to name a few. He has been doing well ever since.

With numerous projects on hand, he can not afford to disappoint his well-wishers and with his professionalism he should be making less compromise.
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