Priyadarshan who"s shooting in a distant Karaikudi cannot believe his Tamil film Kanchivaram has won the National award for best film. “This isn"t just my first National award it"s my first award ever Can you believe, in my career of 25 years as film director this is the first time I"ve won an award. And that I"ve won it for Kanchivaram is a very special thing for me. This film is very close to my heart." Says the director emotionally, even as he prepares for the release of his next masala film De Dana Dan.
“Now when the critics see De Dana Dan they"ll say Priyan is back to his old tricks," chuckles the prolific director. “But I am proud of my masala films as well. It"s very important for a film to get an audience. And my comedies are big successes. I can"t fight success. I will continue to make the massy comedies," says the director whose films have often been accused if being wholesale adaptations of South Indian films.
Ironically all his serious-toned films in Hindi including the recent Billu with Shahrukh Khan have been failures. “I"ve to make what the audience likes. But now, I also have to make films that are close to my heart."
“Kanchivaram is a completely original screenplay. And I"m really happy for my leading man Prakash Raj. He has breathed life into the role of the silk weaver. Sabu Cyril who has worked many times with me got the National award for best art direction. Sabu has made every frame look like a silk saree woven with love and care."
Sadly Priyan missed out on the National award for best director. “But no regrets. Adoor Gopalkrishnan is a colleague I greatly admire. He deserved it. I"m just glad to be finally recognized after all these years."
Contrary to reports in a section of the press (put out by vested interests jumping the gun to create hype around their nominated films) Anil Kapoor"s Gandhi My Father and Shah Rukh prestigious starrer Chak De have lost the Nagis Dutt Award for Best Film On National Integration to Bhavna Talwar"s Dharm.
Confirming this Dharm"s producer Sheetal Talwar says, “Yes, our film has won the Nargis Dutt Award for Best Film on National Integration. We"re proud because the other nominee was Chak De, which was a very good film. My wife Bhavna is the first debutant director to win this award. Earlier it has gone to stalwarts like Mani Ratnam."
The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saw Dharm at a special screening some time ago. “The last time he had seen a film was Lage Raho Munnabhai," says Sheetal proudly. However Sheetal Talwar is miffed that Pankaj Kapoor has lost the best actor award in Dharm to Prakash Raj. “I"ve seen Kanchivaram and it deserves every National award that it has got. But I thought Prakash, though brilliant, was a little over-the-top. Pankaj in our film was incredibly subtle and nuanced."
Prakash Raj has won the award for his sterling performance as silk weaver in Priyadarshan"s Kanchivaram. This would be Prakash"s second National award. He earlier won the best supporting actor award for Mani Ratnam"s Iruvar. The film has also beaten the popular entry Taare Zameen Par for the best film category. Taare Zameen Par has to be content with winning the National award for best Hindi film.
Priyadarshan who hoped to win the National award for best director has lost the award to the awards favorite Adoor Gopalakrishan who won for the Malayalam film Nalu Pennungal. The National award for best actress has gone to Kannada politician-actress Umashree for Grirish Kasaravalli"s Gulabi Talkies. The National award for best first film has gone to Shivajee Chandrabhushan"s Frozen beating the other popular entry Amrit Sagar"s 1971 in the category.