Film director Shyam Benegal was presented the Akkineni Nageswara Rao National Award for 2012 at a glittering function here on Saturday.
Union information & broadcasting minister Manish Tewari, who was the chief guest, spoke about the need for creative freedom and regretted that intolerance was creeping wider in India today. He hoped that the liberal arts community will stand up to this encroachment of their space. However, he added, “The nature of the media is such that it needs to moderate itself. Otherwise it may prove corrosive.”
Chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy lauded Benegal’s contribution to cinema with a social purpose. “All his movies made people think, and held up a mirror to society,” he said.
Receiving the award, Benegal reminisced about his Hyderabad days. “Back then there were hardly any people from the city who were into movies. Hyderabad was a very interesting place, but there weren’t more than two or three people from here who were known in the industry in Mumbai.”
Beneral was all praise for the Telugu film industry, and said that the sheer number of Telugu movies produced every year would make Hyderabad the film capital of India.
MP T Subbarami Reddy, who presided over the ceremony, said that although thr Telugu film industry has grown over the years, few Telugu films manage to win awards. It was a challenge to be addressed.