Prakash Raj in a still from the movie Kanjeevaram.
Priyadarshan, currently shooting in Karaikudi, cannot believe his Tamil film Kanchivaram has won the National Award for Best Film. 'This isn't just my first National Award, it's my first award ever!" he exclaims.
"Can you believe, in my career of 25 years as film director this is the first time I've won an award, And that I've won it for Kanchivaram is a very special thing for me. This film is very close to my heart," says the director emotionally, even as he prepares for the release of his next masala film De Dana Dan.
He was reacting soon after the 55th National Film Awards for 2007 were announced in New Delhi on Monday.
"Now when the critics see De Dana Dan they'll say Priyan is back to his old tricks," chuckles the prolific director.
"But I am proud of my masala films as well. It's very important for a film to get an audience. And my comedies are big successes. I can't fight success. I will continue to make the massy comedies," says the director whose films have often been accused of being wholesale adaptations of South Indian hits.
Ironically, all his serious-toned films in Hindi including the recent Billu with Shah Rukh Khan have been failures.
"I've to make what the audience likes. But now I also have to make films that are close to my heart."
"'Kanchivaram is a completely original screenplay. And I'm really happy for my leading man Prakash Raj. He has breathed life into the role of the silk weaver. Sabu Cyril who has worked many times with me got the National Award for Best Art Direction. Sabu has made every frame look like a silk saree woven with love and care."
Sadly Priyan missed out on the National Award for Best Director. "But no regrets. Adoor Gopalkrishnan is a colleague I greatly admire. He deserved it. I?m just glad to be finally recognised after all these years."
Gopalkrishnan won the award for Nalu Pennnugal.