CHENNAI: Actor Aamir Khan was presented the 11th Gollapudi Srinivas National Award for his film ‘Taare Zameen Par’ in the city on Tuesday .
Speaking on the occasion, veteran film-maker K.Balachander said that after watching the film, the first directorial venture of the actor, he was convinced that Indian cinema was in safe hands.
The award comprised a memento and a cash prize of Rs.1.50 lakh from the Gollapudi Srinivas Memorial Foundation.
Balachander said, “This movie made me cry, yet made me happy somehow.” He appreciated the director’s conviction in putting a buck-toothed Darsheel Safary in the lead role and appearing himself in the second half of the movie. He noted that movies such as ‘Taare Zameen Par’ should make Indian cinema wake up from its complacency.
Aamir himself was unassuming, clad in his white turtleneck shirt and blue jeans He was flanked by lyricist Prasoon Joshi, film-maker Vidhu Vinod Chopra, theatre personality and socialite Dolly Thakore and ‘Ghajini’ director A.R. Murugadoss.
The event took off with soul-stirring renderings of six popular ‘ghazals’ by Jagjit Singh.
Next, a short film by Rajiv Menon ‘The Second Innings’ was screened in memory of Gollapudi Srinivas, in whose name the award has been instituted. Srinivas was an upcoming director who was killed by a big wave on the beaches of Vishkapatnam while shooting his first film.
A short film on Aamir’s experience as a director was screened in which he was found saying, “The job of a director is to make people bloom.” The idea matched perfectly the theme of the award itself that recognizes budding directors.
Actor Anupam Kher appreciated Aamir Khan for his sheer courage.
“Today, when we are marketing cinema, and even lives and values, to make a film on special children is truly an act of courage,” he said. Director Vidhu Vinod Chopra expressed his disbelief at how a person could “remain as untouched by success as Aamir is”.
He appreciated the actor’s commitment for cinema .
For an actor who is known for not attending award functions, Aamir agreed to accept this award as a mark of respect towards the Gollapudi family. An emotionally charged Aamir was moved to tears on the stage.
He gave the credit for the movie’s success to Amol Gupte, the story writer, and the entire team. He also dedicated the prize money to the M.G.R. Film and Television Institute, Chennai, to promote talented film-makers.