Aamir Khan honoured with Gollapudi Srinivas national award

Aug 14, 2008 Mythili Ramachandran

August 12 brings back painful memories every year for Gollapudi Maruthi Rao and his family.

That day in 1992, their son Srinivas Rao, a budding director was swept away on the beaches of Vishakapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, where he was shooting his debut film, 'Prema Pusthakam.'

Srinivas was only 26 then and on the threshold of realizing his dreams. From this tragedy was born the Gollapudi Srinivas Memorial Foundation founded by his father, Gollapudi Maruthi Rao, noted actor, writer and director. Every year, this foundation presents an award comprising of a cash prize of Rs.1.5 lakhs and a memento to the 'Best Debut Director' of the year. The award in memory of Gollapudi Srinivas Rao is presented on August 12 every year.

This year the award in its 11th year was presented to Aamir Khan for his debut film, 'Taare Zameen Paar,' at a function organized in Chennai on Aug. 12. Nineteen films from different languages had been nominated. The jury comprised of Sri Singeetham Srinivasa Rao, Sri Kalyanaraman and Sri Maruthi Rao.

Aamir who never attends any award function was present at the ceremony and received the award from veteran film director, K. Balachander. This is the first award for 'Taare Zameen Par.'

K.Balachander referring to Aamir's film said, "This film made me cry, yet made me happy too. It was a film made from the heart and should make Indian cinema wake up from its complacency."

In his speech, he appreciated Aamir's confidence in putting a buck-toothed Darsheel Safary in the pivotal role and appearing himself only in the second half of the story. "Indian cinema is in safe hands," said Balachander.

Balachander's speech moved Aamir to tears such that when it was time for him to speak, Aamir found himself at a loss for words. Composing himself, Aamir said, "I was here on an earlier occasion to present the award to a winner, but I never expected to be at the receiving end. I wish my mother was here."

He dedicated the prize money to M.G.R. Film & Television Institute, Chennai to encourage upcoming talented film makers. Aamir addressing the audience said, "Making a film is like juggling balls in the air. You should know which ball to let go and when or else, you will loose all the balls."

"A good director possesses leadership qualities and must win the love of his team. A good sense of humour also helps," he added. "It is the director who can make each person bloom," said Aamir.

The original script of TPZ was by Amol Gupte who also wrote the dialogues and the screenplay.

"The first time I heard the story from Amol, I was moved to tears. Maybe it was destiny that the film came my way. Acting with 40 children was demanding but I had so much fun. This film made me sensitive towards my children."

Continuing he says, "The first two days we had no shooting. I used to view through the camera the different characters and their position in the frame. I paid attention to background."

"Darsheel is a happy kid, he did not want to cry. So I told him, 'Don't worry about crying. Just watch me cry, my mouth, the muscles of my face. I led him step by step and he soon became an expert in crying," laughed the 'Lagaan' actor.

He credited the success of the movie to the entire team. And he felicitated Prasoon Joshi, the lyricist of the film. The film is being dubbed in Telegu and Tamil and is scheduled for a release on September 12. The Tamil version is called, 'Vaal Natchathiram,' and the Telegu version is 'Nelameedha Taaralu.'

Earlier in the evening, actor Anupam Kher participating in the function appreciated Aamir's commitment to cinema. He said, "Today when we are marketing cinema, lives and moral values, it is truly an act of courage to make a film on special children."

Director Vidhu Vinod Chopra of 'Munnabhai' sharing the podium with Aamir said that success and fame had left Aamir untouched. "He has remained the same since the past 20 years of our friendship," said Chopra.

Come August 12, next year and the Gollapudi Maruthi Rao family will be back as they identify new talent in film making. It is an endeavour of theirs to translate their personal tragedy into a celebration of new triumphs in the field of cinema. Click the Movie button below for more info:
Taare Zameen Par

Aamir Khan Pictures


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