No Hidutva in my Film - Shyamaprasad
the Staff Reporter, The Hindu, 21st March 1999
The film director, Mr. Shyamaprasad, has sid that it was
never his intention to subscribe to the Hindutva view
through his movie "Agnisakshi".
He was reacting to the controversy over his film "Agnisakshi",
which won eight awards, including the awards for the best
film and the best director at this year's State Film Awards,
at a meet-the-press programme organized by the Kesari
Memorial Trust her on Saturday.
"What exactly is Hindutva? If a nilavilakku and poonol
(sacred thread) on screen are what constitute Hindutva.
I am that such a comment has come from someone like P
Govinda Pillai," he said.
He also termed s "unfortunate", the controversy
over this year's State Film Awards.
"The film community, though it is a close group,
seems to be lacking sportsman spirit. When a jury has
been constituted for judging the films, you should be
able to accept their verdict," he said. Or else,
such criticism should develop into a serious discussion
on cinema rather than a personal grudge campaign.
"Awards are not the last word that qualifies you
as a film maker. Ultimately, it is the people who judge
your movie and your merits as a film maker. This controversy
is silly," he commented.
He also felt that in portraying the film, he had done
justice to the original novel by Mrs. Lalithambika Antharjanam
and that he had not "missed" the radical elements
in the story.
"This novel should not be clubbed along with novels
such as "Adukkalayil Ninnu Arangathekku" or
"Rithumathi", which belong to the renaissance
period of Malayalam literature. More than the sociological
perspective, the novel has certain universal elements
which transcend time - this story could take place in
any community. "It is about certain essential moral
values of man, and his confrontations with fate. It is
very spiritual in essence - this does not mean that it
stems from a particular religion. It is these timeless
values which I have tried to portray in my film",
Mr. Shyamaprasad said.
He said that today, the commercial and entertainment elements
that had to be packaged into films for reaching them to
theatres had gone up so much that even for a sensitive,
tender movie like "Agnisakshi", marketing problems
were terrible. The State Government outfits like Chalachitra
Academy should be able to help serious film makers market
He said he could not claim himself to be the spokesperson
for either good or popular cinema. "I stand as the
spokesperson for my own films. In the nineties, no film
maker can afford to take a purist stand that he will make
only artistic movies. My work should give me creative
satisfaction, it should uplift me and also give me sufficient
financial backing to get on with my artistic pursuits,"
His future projects? He would love to make a movie based
on Kamala Das's "My Story," Mr. Shyamaprasad