March 18, 2019 5:11:33 pm
Cinematographer-turned-director C Prem Kumar of 96-fame has been chosen for the 22nd Gollapudi Srinivas National Award. The honour, instituted by the Gollapudi Srinivas Memorial Foundation, is given to a debutant filmmaker annually in the memory of Gollapudi Srinivas, who passed away in an accident while making his first project.
Speaking to indianexpress.com from Hyderabad, Prem Kumar says he feels “extremely privileged and blessed.”
Prem adds, “I never thought I would win such a prestigious award because I had been a cinematographer all my life, and direction was something that was really unplanned. I had only wanted to become a writer and ventured into the film industry. Subba Rao called me over the phone and asked, ‘would you like to receive this award?’, and nobody has ever asked me the way he did. I was touched and overwhelmed.”
96 is the second Tamil film after Janaki Viswanathan’s Kutty (2011) to bag this award. “Though the film was commercially successful, it wasn’t a full-on commercial film. Last year, many good films were released. Merku Thodarchi Malai was excellent and so was Pariyerum Perumal. I am glad the Gollapudi family chose 96 out of all films that got released in 2018,” smiles Prem.
Prem says initially he wasn’t aware of how the Gollapudi Srinivas Award came into existence. “Thanks to cinematographer Kathir who explained everything to me in detail. Now after knowing its history, I realised how big the honour is. Also, Aamir Khan was one of the recipients, and he was presented the award in 2008 for Tare Zameen Par. When I think about all these, I am not even sure if I deserve this. I cannot explain how it feels in words. It is yet to skin in,” he says.
96, starring Trisha and Vijay Sethupathi in the lead, was set against the backdrop of a school alumni reunion.
The award, comprising a cash prize of Rs 1.5 lakh and a memento, will be presented at a grand ceremony to be held on August 12, 2019 in Chennai.
On the movie front, Prem is scouting locations for the Telugu version of 96, which will go on floors in mid-April or May.
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