The Great Indian filmmakers (I) : Shyam Benegal

by Ashish on January 3, 2010

benegal What do you expect from a boy if he makes a film with a normal camera given by his father on his 12th birthday.This small guy went on to win National Film Award for best feature film in Hindi not once and twice but 7 times. He was also awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for lifetime achievement for his contribution to Indian cinema in 2005.We’re talking about none other than our legend filmmaker Shyam Benegal.

He spend the first few years of his career in Advertising agencies in Bombay.Till 1974 he made hundreds of ad films and documentaries and then best thing that brought him in limelight among the industry and media, Ankur,his first feature film about economic and sexual exploitation from his home state Andhra Pradesh.A year after he made Nishant which won the National film award in best feature film category. Year after year he kept on making cult films. Manthan,Bhumika,Junoon,Arohan and the list goes on when we talk about the great movies in 70’s and 80’s era which were also nominated at several International film awards.

He also directed a television serial “Bharat Ek Khoj” based on Jawaharlal Nehru’s book, Discovery of India for Indian Railways .In 1982 he made a movie based on the life of legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray which won the National award for Best biographical film.

Though he is considered as one of the best directors of parallel cinema he also tried his hands in mainstream cinema with making of Zubeidaa which again bagged the National film Award for best feature film in the year 2001.

In 2008 when “Welcome to Sajjanpur” was released an Indiatimes review said, “Shyam Benegal has always been accredited as a mesmerizing storyteller known for making ‘meaningful’ cinema. This time he also caters to commercial consumers, coming up with his most ‘entertaining’ attempt, by far”. Though it couldn’t perform well at box office it was much critically acclaimed by media houses .Now the maverick filmmaker is ready with his new project “Well Done Abba” which is currently being screened at some of the prestigious film festival across the world will  be released very soon.

At the age of 75 and with more than 70 films to his credit he is still the same man who believes in his own style of filmmaking , no matter it earns money or not but at the end it earns applause from all savvy segments.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Yusuf Ali 01.21.11 at 5:55 pm

Please provide me with Sham Benegal’s E-mail or his phone number if you can. I wish to keep in touch with him as i am a college mate of his . thank you so much.

Ashish 02.13.11 at 3:49 pm

Well i don’t have his email or phone no. but you can visit his office which is in Everest building ,Tardeo, Mumbai

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