Agnisakshi, a dream come true for Shyamaprasad
Peninsula, Saturday May 8th, 1999 by Mohammed Salim Mohammed
Shyamaprasad, who bagged the Best Kerala State Award for
his debut feature film Agnisakshi, is not a man of few
words but, unlike many other directors, he is also a calm
and unruffled man.
Yesterday, while speaking to The Peninsula at the Hotel
Sofitel, with the scenic beauty of Qatar as a backdrop,
he reminisced about the making of his film. Shyamaprasad
said, "Agnisakshi is more than a portrayal of the
period and the life of the Nampoothiris of Kerala. It
is more than the story of the transformation of a society
caught between two worlds - one dead and the other yet
to be born.
I don't know where to categorise this film because it
is neiter an art film nor a commercial one."
Pausing for as moment he added, "The film is more
than the struggle between established values and change.
It is more than the conflict between desire and duty.
It is the story of every man who searches for meaning
in relationship within the framework that society dictates
in every age."
Holder of a master's degree in media studies from Hull
University, England, Shyamaprasad has many award-winning
and critically acclaimed works to his credit. His telefilm
Nilavariyunnu won the special jury prize at the Golden
Chest TV Fest held in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, in 1996, and
the Onida Pinnacle National Award for the Best Director
in 1994. Shyam also won the Kerala State Award for the
Best Director in 1993 and 1994. His much acclaimed telefilms
include Maranam Durbalam and Uyirthezhunnelpu.
"I have been working on the Agnisakshi script for
the past 10 to 12 years. The film is based on a Malayalam
novel, the story of which was adapted for the film by
Lalithambika Antharjanam. After working on the theme,
the next stage was to select the stars. Though there are
a lot of accomplished Malayalam film actors, none of them
suited my vision of a hero. Thus I chose Rajath Kapoor
for the main role as he had all the qualities of the character
in question", he said. The other stars include Sobhana
"My first thought was to make this a telefilm but
later changed my mind as I later came to know that the
novel was not suited to the teletube format. I started
writing on the script somewhere n 1992 and my vision became
a dream come true in August 1998, when I completed my
movie." Due for release in Kerala by this month end,
the film has already been acclaimed in the international
"I am targeting this film at the moviegoers who understand
the realm of day-to-day life. People in the rest of India,
as also in Kerala, want films based not on real life.
But there are people who appreciate movies that I and
other directors including Shyam Benegal like to do."
On what he feels on bagging 18 awards to date for his
debut feature film, he said, "I am elated by the
response. Considering it is my first film and the laurels
it has won, it's a great achievement." He is not
resting on his laurels. The great director has already
embarked on another film project, the details of which
he did not divulge.