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01. Agnisakshi, a dream come true for Shyamaprasad
     The Peninsula, Saturday May 8th, 1999 by Mohammed Salim Mohammed in DOHA

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 and Sreevidya.

"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 arena.

"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.
 
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