Date:05/05/2008 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2008/05/05/stories/2008050559710400.htm
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Andhra Pradesh - Hyderabad

Dasari bats for small filmmakers

Special Correspondent

Producers should get their due, says popular filmmaker


Mr. Rao is also a Guinness record holder for directing 148 films

Seeks waiver of 22 crore margin money to be paid to HUDA by workers in the film industry


- PHOTO: K. RAMESH BABU

Deserving honour: Director K. Raghavendra Rao presenting the Dasari Best Film Director Award-2007 to Shekar Kammula during Dasari Narayana Rao’s birthday celebrations on Sunday.

HYDERABAD: Popular filmmaker and former Union Minister Dasari Narayana Rao on Sunday evening said the function to felicitate 128 film producers was primarily aimed at sending a message to the current generation of film personalities of the respect that was due to producers.

Addressing an impressive gathering at the Lalitha Kala Thoranam in the Public Gardens at a function to mark his 62nd birthday, he regretted that film producers today were being considered as mere managers.

Criticises cartels

Mr.Rao said it was imperative for everyone connected with films including the cast and crew to remember that whatever they enjoyed in life like cars and bungalows was only because the producers had invested much needed money in films that popularised them and brought the spotlight of fame onto them.

The Guinness record holder for directing 148 films also regretted that some bigwigs in the Telugu film industry were forming cartels and buying up movie halls, a move that was smothering films made by small filmmakers that otherwise had artistic values.

Mr.Rao was referring to the move by government three years ago granting big film producers the option of increasing ticket prices in the first two weeks of their release.

This, he said, had led to big banner films within the market in 100, 200 or even 300 screens for the first few weeks. This move was leading to small film producers not getting movie halls for showcasing their talent. He said he would strive to safeguard the interest of such underprivileged filmmakers.

YSR’s assurance

Meanwhile Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy on Sunday promised to constitute a committee to look into the problems faced by makers of small films owing to differential ticket pricing.

Participating in the 62nd birthday celebrations of Mr. Dasari Narayana Rao here, Dr. Reddy said the committee could examine whether the option for big films to increase ticket price in the first two weeks of the release needed to be continued, as this was hitting the small films.Responding to Mr. Rao’s request, the Chief Minister said, “Government is with you and will accept whatever you think is good for the industry.”

Margin money waiver

Mr. Rao also sought waiver of Rs. 22 crore margin money to be paid to the Hyderabad Urban Development Authority by 4,000 workers in the film industry who were identified as beneficiaries under the Indiramma housing scheme.

Dr. Reddy said while total waiver would not be possible, he would ask officials to examine if a 20 or 30 per cent discount could be given to the beneficiaries.

Marking the birthday, 128 film producers were felicitated at the function attended by several film personalities including Jayaprada and Jayasudha, director K. Ragahvendra Rao.

The break-up includes 97 producers for whom Mr. Rao directed 148 films and 21 producers in whose movies he essayed significant roles. Interestingly, Allu Arvind of Geeta Arts was also one among them.

He walked away from the meeting a few minutes after the Chief Minister arrived. Akkineni family was conspicuous by its absence.

In addition, four awards - two to directors and two to journalists were given away. The Dasari Best Film Director Award - 2007 went to Sekhar Kammula for ‘Happy Days’ while the Best New Film Director Award - 2007 was given to V. Eeshwar Reddy for ‘Mee Sreyobhilashi’. Journalists Pasupuleti Rama Rao and Prabhu got the Best Film Journalist Awards - 2007.

The director’s award came with a cash prize of Rs. one lakh while the journalists got Rs. 50,000 each.

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