AISFM students graduate with flying colors

On 17 September 2017, our students graduated amidst glam and glitz in Shilpakala Vedika. The stage was set for the legendary director, S.S. Rajamouli, to confer our bright students with their hard-earned degrees.

The event started with a tribute to S.S. Rajamouli Garu through a dance performance choreographed by Vijay. This was followed by a motivating welcome address by our director, Mrs. Amala Akkineni Garu, which lit up the entire hall.

Shortly afterward, the dean, Mr. Bala Raja declared the graduation ceremony open and Chairman, Mr. Akkineni Naragajuna Garu delivered a heartfelt speech about our founding father, Akkineni Nageswar Rao Garu’s vision. The audience sat rapt with attention as they heard how AISFM came to be and how ANR Garu gave life to his dream of helping media & entertainment enthusiasts with a world-class education.

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S.S. Rajamouli Garu took the stage next and remembered the contributions and willpower of ANR Garu. We all know that ANR Garu braved a couple of heart strokes through his lifetime but it is worthy to note that nothing – not even dire ailments – stopped him from achieving the goals he set for himself. AISFM is a testimony to this. After this, the graduates were awarded their degree certificates.

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Besides the moving speech by S.S. Rajamouli Garu, the convocation ceremony this year was special for another reason as well. ANR gold medals were awarded to exceptional students who scored more than 85% in their boards. The first gold medalist winners were Shashank Velpucharla and Ashwin Sanjay Bharde.

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The ceremony concluded with vote of thanks by the dean, the National Anthem, and group photographs with the dignitaries. It was nothing short of delightful to see our students graduate with flying colors.

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Shri Venkaiah Naidu speaks highly of ANR at the ANR Award Ceremony

The 11th ANR awards were held on the 17th September at Shilpakala Vedika, Hyderabad. The esteemed guest of honor was Shri Venkaiah Naidu, who expressed that felicitation of a few should come as an inspiration to many. The recipient of the ANR award this year was S.S. Rajamouli, and Shri Naidu showered him with well-deserved high praise. Shri Naidu also remarked that the legacy of Akkineni Nageswara Rao (ANR) would live on year after year through this award, that was given to the current prodigies of Indian cinema. In his speech, Shri Naidu spoke fondly about ANR, explaining how this spectacular actor raised the bar for acting and producing films in India. ANR lived his life with discipline (which helped in bringing him success) and dedicated every living moment to Indian cinema, turning him into an inspiration for many aspiring professionals.

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The growth of the Indian film industry can be seen clearly from the first Indian film in 1913- directed by Dadasaheb Phalke to Baahubali, the latest film that has taken the nation by storm. Such exponential growth could only be possible due to pioneers like ANR and Rajamouli. The revenue generated by the Indian film industry is roughly 20,000 crores, with 2,00,000+ employed professionals giving their best to create a stunning new cinema in all languages. Shri Naidu also urged the audience to learn their mother tongue. He compared one’s mother tongue to eyes and other languages to spectacles and remarked- if the eyes didn’t work, the spectacles were of no use.

Indian film has grown to a point where 30 big companies associated with the film industry are registered and performing business in the Indian Stock Exchange. But Indian films do more than just create revenue- they evoke so many emotions in people and also send a positive message to the public. They are a powerful source of communication in today’s world because they have the power to change the thought process. Every film created should have meaning, a unique message directed to the public in such a way that it generates positive impact among the audience.

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Nagarjuna also gave a short speech, thanking Shri Naidu and CM, Kalvakuntla Chandrashekhar Rao, mentioning various schemes introduced by him that brought on the welfare of Telangana. He signed off with the quote saying- since the inception of the silver screen, its purpose was to screen Bahubali.

The awards ceremony also had a few live performances of classical songs and dances from Bahubali, an address by Bala Raj, the dean of AISFM. It ended with the National Anthem playing in the theatre, leaving everyone heartfelt.

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AISFM remembers legendary ANR on his Birth Anniversary

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On this day of 20th Sept in 1924, a Legend was born! Remembering the great man, Founder/Chairman of Annapurna Studios and Annapurna International School for Film and Media, Dr. Akkineni Nageswara Rao, fondly known as Dr. ANR, on his Birth Anniversary; AISFM students, staff and faculty remembered this day and celebrated the birth of this great man in their own special way. Some of the people here have seen him and many have spoken with him. Few really privileged ones have also worked with him closely.

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Akkineni Nageswara Rao’s daughter Naga Susheela paid floral tributes to her father near the award gallery and interacted with other people who came to pay their tributes.

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Supriya Yarlagadda, Executive Director of Annapurna Studios and granddaughter of Dr. ANR, was the Special Guest for the celebrations. “This school is a dream come true for my grandfather,” said she and shared interesting anecdotes of how it all came about. “We were sitting in the office and we were talking about where to start the school. And then he suddenly said, ‘I’ll start the school right here in the studio space’ and decided to start it in one corner of Annapurna Studios.”

She also recounted how she began her journey at Annapurna Studios and how Dr. ANR always encouraged her. “One day when I went to him and told him that I am bored and wanted to do something, he encouraged me to help out in the studios. I wondered what I would do and he just said, ‘You will know’. I came to the studios and they gave me a small waist pouch to handle money. When I shared my thoughts about handling money, he said “you are lucky to be handling money; your grandmother had to count the rice bags that came into the production department!”

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She went to add that ASPL and AISFM was his way of giving back to the industry that has given him so much. She also mentioned that during the time that Annapurna Studios was built, there was no road leading towards it from Nagarjuna Circle and how Dr. ANR got a part of the road laid at his own expense. “He was very keen to build Annapurna Studios and it was his first dream of bringing the Telugu industry to Hyderabad. And he was equally keen and passionate about starting AISFM to give back to the industry and society. ‘My life just happened, it is a coming together of people,’ said he always. His favourite movie of his was Batasari. So I would urge you to watch it.” She shared a funny incident with a smile and said “for the now iconic movie Seetaramiah gari manavaralu my grandfather was very keen on using a wig as his role of a grandfather in the movie and he resisted working without a wig. But the director insisted that he not don a wig. After the movie released, not until a lot of people praised him for his role, was he at ease!”

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Supriya urged the students to interact with the learned and experienced minds around them and learn. “My grandfather always encouraged learning and he never stopped learning. Even when I was doing something on my phone he would ask me what I was doing and learnt about the new apps etc. I would like to urge you to reach out and learn and you will go places. When you go and work in the industry and make a name for yourself, my grandfather’s dream will be fulfilled.” “I remember when I was a kid I would see my grandfather stand out in the portico and meet the innumerable people who came in buses to meet him. He was always fascinated by people and would interact with them and get to know them. He was always trying to extract as much from life as he could. I’d urge you to live and learn,” she added.

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Bala Rajasekharuni, Dean of AISFM, speaking about the legendary actor who he always liked and looked up to, recollected the first time he met Dr. ANR. “We were in town from the US for a film festival and Annapurna Studios had organised a grand lunch for us. I was very eager to meet him and see him in person and was looking at the dais trying to catch a glimpse of him. There were a lot of people waiting to eat and there were no clean plates. While I was waiting to get some food, I suddenly heard a booming voice say ‘Somebody get some clean plates.’ He was right amidst us, and not on the dais, handling everything, greeting everybody and making sure everybody was taken care of.” The Dean advised the students, “Make the best of what this institution offers you and do us proud.” He also announced that the existing Preview Theatre has been upgraded with the latest audio visual technology and will be inaugurated today.

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The day’s event started off with a brief audio-visual about Dr. ANR and how he became an actor. Later the students from various AISFM Student Clubs enacted scenes from Dr. ANR’s hugely popular movie Mayabazar, while some others did a medley of the actor’s song and dance sequences, which was thoroughly enjoyed by the students who were cheering their classmates loudly! Theatre artiste Lakshmana recited Dr. ANR’s favourite padhyam too. This was the students’ tribute to the iconic actor in their own way.

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Later two of his popular movies Seetaramiah gari manavaralu and Manam were screened for the students in the newly renovated Preview Theatre, on the occasion of his birthday.

Here’s remembering the great man, the celebrated actor, the humble man, the great visionary, the recipient of Dadasaheb Phalke Award, the Padma Vibhushan and three Filmfare Awards, who achieved so much in his life time; on his birthday and who continues to inspire us always!

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ANR: The legend lives on

ANR’s passing marks the end of one of the most glorious chapters in the history of Indian cinema, but his legacy will continue to reverberate for years to come, writes Hemanth Kumar. [Read more…]