It was a proud moment for the Telugu film industry as Naa Bangaaru Thalli received three National awards at the 61st National film awards in New Delhi on Wednesday. Based on the true story of father and daughter caught in the vortex of human sex trafficking, the film won the ‘Best Regional Feature film in Telugu’, ‘Best Music’ and a ‘Special Mention’ for actress Anjali Patil.
For film director Rajesh Touchriver, it was such a delight to see his film gain national recognition, especially considering this was his first Telugu venture. “It’s obviously very pleasing to win three national awards. It’s a great honour and we’re all happy that our hard work has been rewarded,” said Rajesh. Speaking to City Express from Beijing, the director who hails from Kerala, was exuberant and proud to share the moment with the State.
“Even though I’m not from Andhra Pradesh, I consider Telugu as my mother tongue and the state as my Matrubhoomi (homeland). I always wanted to make movies in this language and I’m very proud to win this award on behalf of the Telugu film industry,” shared the filmmaker, who is married to Sunitha Krishnan, co-founder of Hyderabad-based Prajwala that works towards rehabilitation of sex workers and their children. With funding becoming an issue during the filming of the project, Sunitha stepped in as producer to help the project take off.
Apart from winning three National awards, Naa Bangaaru Thalli has been in the global limelight for a while, bagging the ‘Best Feature Film’ award at the Trinity International Film Festival in Detroit, USA, last year. The filmmaker and his producer wife are currently in China for another film festival where their film is being screened. “We are currently at the Beijing International Film Festival. Our film will be screened tonight and we are excited to see how it will be received,” said Rajesh on Thursday.
While winning multiple national awards is a proud moment for the Telugu film industry, Rajesh is skeptical if more filmmakers will take the same route and touch upon a strong subject like Naa Bangaaru Thalli. “The main problem with the Telugu film industry is that they think stars are more important than the story. However, what truly matters is the concept of a film and if there is a good story, then any film will be appreciated,” Rajesh emphasises.
While his schedule for now includes globe hopping to to attend various film festivals, Rajesh will soon start working on his next project. Though nothing has been finalised yet, he has confirmed that it will also focus on a social issue. “Right from my first film, I touched upon issues like human trafficking and HIV/AIDS and my next film will also be on a social issue. All my films have to have a strong concept,” he said. With promise of a film in the works sometime later this year, Rajesh is now enjoying the impact of his Bangaaru Thalli.