Mumbai: Lauding the professionalism and work culture of South Indian cinema, popular Hindi cinema star Anil Kapoor has said his professional foundation was laid here.
In his address at the annual Gollapudi Srinivas National Awards, presented to Amit Rai for his `Road to Sangam,` Kapoor also recalled his early days as an actor and his struggle to find a foothold after "repeatedly making my debut in Hindi, Kannada and Telugu."
"Professionalism and the work culture of South Indian cinema laid my professional foundation... even my family call me a Southee," Kapoor said here last evening.
He pointed to the punctuality, devotion, small budget yet `huge passion and canvas,` of technicians as the forte of South Indian cinema.
Saying he had worked in all three south Indian languages --Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam, he rued that he was yet to be cast in a Tamil film.
Kapoor lauded the organisers, Gollapudi Srinivas Trust, for recognising talent and said "There are hundreds of awards functions in Mumbai but one doesn`t feel like going as they are not touching."
Gollapudi Srinivas Trust, named the award after filmmaker Srinivas, who died while making his debut movie.
He also had the audience in splits when he mistakenly pronounced his city of stay as Bombay, but quickly corrected it to Mumbai, with a quip that "someone has problems if the city is called Bombay."
Madhur Bhandarkar, director of critically acclaimed films like `Corporate` and `Page 3`, said it was difficult to make a debut as director and recalled how hard it was to him to make films like `Chandni Bar` at a time when Hindi cinema was in "its peak of commercial and run of the mill cinema."
He recalled that his first movie, Trishakti, bombed at the box office.
Earlier, Rai was presented the award, which carries a cash prize of Rs 1.5 lakh and a memento. He was awarded by the trust, formed by the family of Srinivas, for its efforts to recognise and honour first-time film-makers.
Rai was awarded for his `Road To Sangam`, dealing with the story of a Muslim mechanic entrusted with the job of repairing a vehicle that once carried the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi.
While Paresh Rawal played the role of the mechanic, Om Puri and Pawan Malhotra came up with powerful supporting roles.
Earlier, the evening was made memorable with Sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan enthralling the audience with his performance.