Filmmaker Benegal up for V. Shantaram Lifetime Achievement Award

One of the leading and widely respected filmmakers of India, Benegal is known for thought provoking works

Mumbai: Veteran Indian filmmaker Shyam Benegal was set to be awarded the prestigious V Shantaram Lifetime Achievement Award of the 15th Mumbai International Film Festival for Documentary, Animation and Short Films (MIFF) on Saturday.

The award carrying a trophy, shawl, citation and cash prize of Rs1 million (Dh57,261) was to be presented by the Governor of Maharashtra, C. Vidyasagar Rao, at the MIFF 2018 valedictory function at the National Centre for Performing Arts.

An independent committee, comprising film director Rahul Rawail, Kiran Shantaram, son of the iconic Marathi film-maker V. Shantaram, Prasoon Joshi, lyricist and chairperson of Central Board of Film Certification, Bharathi Pradhan, veteran columnist and documentary writer and Vinod Anupam, unanimously recommended the name of Benegal. The committee took note of Benegal’s significant contribution to the growth and sustenance of documentary movements in India.

One of the leading and widely respected filmmakers of India, Benegal is known for making thought provoking works that centre around contemporary Indian experience. He is credited with pioneering new cinema in the country.

While he has made 28 feature films including landmark films like Ankur, Nishant, Mandi and Junoon, his filmography also includes 41 documentaries covering a wide variety of subjects including cultural anthropology, sustainable growth, biopic, art and culture. His 1982 documentary Satyajit Ray won the National Award for Best Biographical Film, while his 1985 film Nehru won the award from Best Historical Reconstruction.

His work on television consists of several popular series including the 53 part series Bharat Ek Khoj broadcast on Doordarshan in 1988. He also made the much acclaimed Samvidhan — The Making of the Constitution of India.

Born in 1934 in Hyderabad, Benegal completed his M.A. in Economics at Osmania University and began working in an advertising agency, before venturing into film making. He made his first documentary film Gher Behti Ganga (Ganga at Doorstep) in Gujarati in 1963. Benegal credits his photographer father and cousin Guru Dutt as early influencers for him taking up film making as a career.

Benegal also taught mass communication between 1966 and 1973 and later took an active role in shaping film education as chairman of the Film & Television Institute of India during the 1980s and early 90s. Recipient of many awards including 9 National Awards for his feature films, Benegal has been honoured by the Government of India with Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan as well as the coveted Dadasaheb Phalke Award.

The V. Shantaram Lifetime Achievement Award for contribution to the documentary movement is conferred on a veteran filmmaker at every MIFF organised by the Films Division of Inda. The award is instituted in memory of the legendary filmmaker V. Shantaram, who was closely associated with the Films Division as Honorary Chief Producer during the 1950s.

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