Shyam Benegal to receive Phalke Award


MUMBAI: Veteran director Shyam Benegal has been selected for the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for 2005. The Award is given by the Government of India for outstanding contribution in the field of Indian cinema.


The award, which carries a cash prize of Rs 200,000, a Swarna Kamal and a shawl, will be conferred on Benegal by the President of India at a ceremony later this year.


Benegal is considered one of the leading filmmakers in the country with his first feature film Ankur, which broke new grounds from the cinematic trends of the seventies. His films have been seen and acclaimed widely in India and at international film festivals for the past three decades.


The core subjects of his films have been varied in nature but mainly centered around contemporary Indian experience. Problems of development, social and cultural change appear on many levels as a continuing thread in practically all his films. Apart from fiction features, he has made a number of documentaries on different subjects ranging from cultural anthropology and problems of industrialization, to music and so on.


His work on television consists of several popular series based on international stories, short stories by well-known Indian writers and a 53 part series on the history of India based on Jawaharlal Nehru’s book Discovery of India. He has also made an extra-mural educational series for rural children sponsored by UNICEF.


Benegal taught mass-communication techniques between 1966 and 1973 and later took an active role in shaping film education as Chairman of the Film Television Institute of India during 1980-83 and 1989-92. He was part of the National Integration Council (1986-89) and the National Council of Art. The Government of India has conferred on him two of its most prestigious awards – Padma Shri (1976) and Padma Bhushan (1991).


He has made 24 fiction features for the Cinema, several documentaries and TV series. Some of his other prominent films are Nishant, Manthan, Bhumika, Kondura, Junoon, Kalyug, Mandi, Trikal, Suraj Ka Satwan Ghoda, Mammo, Sardari Begum, Samar, The Making of the Mahatma, Zubeida and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.