Date:07/08/2009 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/fr/2009/08/07/stories/2009080750730400.htm
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The Inturi awards

M. L. NARASIMHAM

Award ceremony coincides with stalwart’s birth centenary.

The annual Dr. Inturi Venkateswara Rao Visishta Puraskarams were presented this year at a gala function held in Chennai. This year the award carried a special significance as it also marked the birth centenary of the veteran freedom fighter, trade u nionist, author and doyen of Telugu film journalism.

From humble beginnings in Tenali, Inturi as he was popularly known, was attracted by Gandhiji’s call. When he was 12 years old he participated in the non-cooperation movement in 1921. He was sentenced to three and half years jail term in 1930 for his participation in salt sathyagraha. Bezawada Gopala Reddy was his jail mate at Kannanur prison. He worked as a Secretary for Bezawada Congress Committee during the mid 30s. Later he joined the Congress Socialist Party and was associated with the likes of Jayaprakash Narayan.

Gandhiji praised his unbiased reporting in Prakasams Swarajya. He was also a correspondent with Bombay Chornicle before joining the film industry in 1936. He worked with stalwarts as Gudavalli Ramabrahmam, Tripuraneni Gopichand and P. Kannambas Raja Rajeswari Film Company as an associate director besides dabbling in film journalism. He founded ‘Cinema’ a fortnightly and ran it successfully for 19 years. In 1945 he founded the Madras Cine Workers Union and the Andhra Film Journalists Association, the first such associations in the South.

It was due to his untiring efforts for 12 long years that the Andhra Pradesh Government finally instituted the Raghupathi Venkayya award to be given away every year to veteran film personalities. Inturi himself received the award in 1996. Interestingly P. Susheela who received similar award in 2002 from the A.P Government was chosen this year for Dr. Inturi Venkateswara Rao Visishta Puraskaram and veteran film journalist Inampudi Arjuna Rao was bestowed with Dr. Inturi Visishta Patrikeya Puraskaram.

P. Susheela recalled her long association with Dr. Inturi and said that she is happy to receive the coveted award.Bhuvanachandra presided over the function and Dr. C. M. K. Reddy was the chief guest. Senior journalist Rentala Jayadeva, who has done an extensive interview with Dr. Inturi in 2001, a year before his death, for the archives of Andhra Pradesh Press Academy, said that Dr. Inturi was an inspiration and a role model. Compere Srimathi rightly said that Inturi was a feminist too as was evident through his two novels Kummari Molla and Tharigonda Vengamamba. Jonnalagadda Sathyanrarayana, secretary of the Dr. Inturi Memorial Trust, proposed the vote of thanks. .

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