Shyam Benegal a noted Indian Film Director turns a year older on December 14. His films are majorly a reflection of the social issues that persist in society. Benegal’s father was a professional photographer originally from Karnataka. He also twice served as the chairman of Film Institute of India, which has now been renamed as Film and Television Institute of India.
As Benegal turns 85 years old Saturday, we take a look at five of his films which made a difference:
Ankur was Benegal's first feature film released in the year 1974. The lead actors of the film included Shabana Azmi and Anant Nag, who back then were making a debut with this film. The film was critically acclaimed and has also got three National Film Awards. Recently, the film was also showcased at the International Film Festival of India under the segment Indian New Wave Cinema.
This 1976 Hindi film was inspired by the milk cooperative movement of Verghese Kurien. A total of Five Lakh farmers donated a sum of Rs 2 each for the film. The film won 1977 National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi and National Film Award for Best Screenplay.
1977 film Bhumika, which was also showcased at the International Film Festival of India under the segment Indian New Wave Cinema. The star cast of the film included Smita Patil, Amol Palekar, Anant Nag, Naseeruddin Shah and Amrish Puri. The film won two National Film Awards and Filmfare Best Movie Award. Moreover, it was also invited to Carthage Film Festival 1978, Chicago Film Festival, where it was awarded the Golden Plaque in 1978.
Mammo, which was released in 1994, was the first film of Benegal’s Muslim Trilogy. The second film in the series was Sardari Begum, which was released in 1996 followed by Zubeidaa which hit the theatres in 2001. It also got the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi. The movie starred Farida Jalal and Surekha Sikri among others. Both of them won awards. While Surkekha won the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress, Farida got the award for Filmfare Critics Award for Best Performance.
Zubeidaa is the concluding film in the trilogy that started with Mammo. It is based on the life of actress Zubeida Begum, who married Hanwant Singh of Jodhpur and was the mother of the film's writer, Khalid Mohamed. The film’s star cast included Karisma Kapoor, Manoj Bajpayee, Rekha among other noted names of the film industry. The film won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi, while Karisma got the Filmfare Award for Best Actress (Critics).
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