Bollywood actor Aamir Khan was presented the 11th Gollapudi Srinivas National Award on Tuesday evening in Chennai for directorial excellence in Taare Zameen Par.
The Gollapudi Srinivas Memorial Foundation gave the award, instituted in memory of the late director Gollapudi Srinivas, to Aamir. The award honours achievements by upcoming directors.
And now comes the interesting part!
Speaking at the event, veteran filmmaker K Balachander gave a heart-warming speech about Taare Zameen Par and its director. The speech, which spanned nearly 30 minutes, moved Aamir to tears and he looked choked for the remainder of the ceremony.
“This movie made me cry, yet made me happy somehow. You made a movie on a buck-toothed baby (Darsheel Safary) and still emerged successful,” said Balachander. He also said that films such as Taare Zameen Par should make Indian cinema 'wake up from its complacency'.
Aamir, clad in his trademark long-sleeves and jeans, was unable to speak when his turn came and the hall went silent as he admitted how touched he was with Balachandar's words. The Lagaan star later kept the copy of Balachander's speech–'for reading out to my grandkids'.
The occasion also saw some of the biggest names in the industry flanking Aamir onstage. Ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh set the mood with a rendering of six of his best songs and veteran actor Anupam Kher was also present to give Taare Zameen Par his words of appreciation.
“Today, when we are marketing cinema, lives and values, to make a film on special children is truly an act of courage,” Kher said.
Also present was director Vidhu Vinod Chopra, who recollected various memories of Aamir and him before both made it big in Bollywood. He said he was wonderstruck at how Aamir remains 'free of muck and remains untouched by success'.
The night was an amazing spectacle for fans who had arrived from far and wide to watch the Bollywood superstar accept an award after years of boycott. And yet the 11th Gollapudi Srinivas National Award turned out to be one of the most emotionally charged moments in movie-award history–and possibly for Aamir Khan himself!
The award celebrates the work and memory of Gollapudi Srinivas, an upcoming director who was killed by a freak wave on a Vishkapatnam beach while shooting his first film.
Aamir dedicated the prize money of Rs 1.5 lakh towards the assistance of young filmmakers.
Truly an evening to remember.
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