THE SHANKARABHARANAM AWARD has been founded by actor Tulasi Shivamani as a token of her deepest regard for her guru Dr K Vishwanath garu. The name of the film itself evokes an instant recall of Vishwanath garu and Tulasi’s work in it. The film is therefore special in both their careers, hence the name of this award.
Describing the thought behind launching this award on 20th June 2017, which is also her 50th birthday, Tulasi says, “A director is the one who gives life to an actor. He is the guru for an actor. When you perform well, the guru is proud of his pupil. He expects nothing in return. So, this annual award for the very film industry that he is associated with, is my small way of paying my respects to my guru, who is also my friend, philosopher, and guide. I just wanted to bring a small smile to his face, with a gesture of my deepest gratitude for his influence and impact on my life and career. I would not call it a big, formal ‘award’ ceremony. I see it as a ‘family get together’, with the film family of his well wishers, friends and colleagues coming together for one evening, to celebrate his presence in our lives. I want all the actors who worked with him, to meet him, enjoy spending an evening in his presence, watching cultural activities together. At the same time, we should also give the industry folks an opportunity to receive the awards they deserve, from his very hands. The people he has worked with, all love him as a father figure and as a guru. So we want all the warmth we have in our hearts to reach him and drown ourselves in his love for his film family, on this occasion. This is our first year, and we plan to make it an annual affair which will include not only all the Southern film industries but also the Hindi film industry since Vishwanath garu has worked in all these languages.”
SPECIAL FEATURES OF THE SHANAKARABHARANAM AWARDS FUNCTION are many. For one, the show will be conducted completely by women. Elaborating on this, Tulasi says, “There are 4900 women in my Tulasi’s Women’s Organisation. They hail from different walks of life and from various professional fields. Some are dancers and from other cultural fields, some from cinema and media while others are homemakers. We conduct many social activities. In the core group, we have around 608 women members who always come together when we organize any activity. For this award, it is this all –womens team who will be conducting the ceremony and making all the arrangements for the show.”
Whereas normally, film award shows have dance performances and skits by film celebrities, The Shankarabharanam Award ceremony will be different. “We will be having a cultural performance by the underprivileged and physically challenged. We have a group of visually challenged and cancer survivors amongst others, who will be performing. We would like to use this opportunity to honor them and give them a platform to showcase their talent in the presence of Vishwanath garu, whose association with the arts has been deep and longstanding,” says Tulasi.
In addition, the Shankarabharanam Awards ceremony will stand out from its peers in a most singular manner. For, apart from the usual awards for best actors and technicians, there will be special award categories for the ground level employees who hold up the film industry with their skills, hard work, and passion for cinema, keeping it well oiled and running. “We want to motivate and encourage even the grass root level employees of the industry. They do so much for the day to day running of the shoot and smooth operation of our units. We want to publicly recognize their efforts with awards for them. So, we will have categories like Best Lightman, Best Utensils Cleaner, Best Make –up assistant, Best Car Driver, Best Lighting assistant, Best Assistant Director and so on. We will be honoring the seniors in each of these categories. This way we hope it will become an all-encompassing annual award, that every department of the film industry looks forward to every year.”