Renowned filmmaker Shyam Benegal has been selected for the coveted V. Shantaram Lifetime Achievement Award of the Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF-2018). The news was announced on Friday. The award, carrying a trophy, a citation, shawl and cash prize of Rs 10 lakh, will be conferred on Benegal by Maharashtra Governor C.V. Rao at the MIFF 2018 valedictory function on Saturday.
Benegal's name was selected unanimously by an independent committee comprising Kiran Shantaram, Rahul Rawail, Prasoon Joshi, Bharati Pradhan and Vinod Anupam, in view of his significant contribution to the growth and sustenance of the documentary movement in India.
A respected and leading filmmaker, Benegal, 73, is known for making thought-provoking films centering around contemporary Indian experiences and pioneering the New Cinema in the country.
During his career, he has made 28 feature films including classics like "Ankur", "Nishant", "Mandi", "Bhumika", "Manthan" and "Junoon" and 41 documentaries on a wide gamut of topics including cultural, anthropology, sustainable growth, biopic, arts and culture.
One of his documentaries "Satyajit Ray" (1982) got him the National Award for the Best Biographical Film, while his 1985 film, "Nehru" won the award for Best Historical Reconstruction.
He also contributed to the small screen with several popular serials including the 53-epidose "Bharat Ek Khoj" first broadcast on Doordarshan in 1988, and later the acclaimed "Samvidhaan - The Making of The Constitution of India".
Born in Hyderabad in 1934, Benegal completed his Masters in Economics from Osmania University and in 1959, started working in an advertising agency in Mumbai before venturing into film-making.
His first documentary was in Gujarati in 1963, entitled "Gher Behti Ganga" (Ganga at Doorstep) and he credited his father, photographer Sridhar S. Benegal and his cousin, the legendary actor Guru Dutt, as the early influencers who guided him into taking to film-making as a career.
He also taught Mass Communications at the Film & Television Institute of India (FITT), Pune between 1966 and 1973, and later was appointed two times as its Chairman, first in 1980-1983 and again in 1989-1992.
Benegal has been earlier conferred the Padma Shri in 1976, Padma Bhushan in 1991 and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2005, besides nine National Awards for various films and documentaries.
The MIFF's V. Shantaram Lifetime Achievement Award is conferred on a veteran filmmaker with outstanding contribution to the world of films, instituted in memory of the legendary filmmaker, Shantaram Rajaram Vankudre, known popularly as V. Shantaram.
(With IANS Inputs)