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V Shantaram: The Man Who Shaped Indian Cinema

V Shantaram was a multi-talented man. His interest also lied in music.

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V Shantaram was the man who changed the Indian cinema with his work. Wikimedia Commons
V Shantaram was the man who changed the Indian cinema with his work. Wikimedia Commons
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By Ruchika Verma

  • V Shantaram was a veteran filmmaker
  • He was also an actor and recipient of many awards and achievements
  • He was one of the most prolific personalities in the history of Indian cinema

Shantaram Rajaram Vankudre, or popularly known as, V Shantaram or Shantaram Bapu, is hailed as a pioneer of Indian cinema. He was a successful Marathi film director, producer and actor whose career spanned over nearly 66 illustrious years.

A google doodle in the memory of V Shantaram in the honour of his 116th birthday. Google
A Google doodle in the memory of V Shantaram in the honour of his 116th birthday. Google

He is mostly known for introducing sound and colour to Indian cinema. V Shantaram before venturing into mainstream cinema used to work at Maharashtra Film Co., doing odd jobs. He debuted as an actor in 1921 in the silent movie, Surekha Haran.

This veteran filmmaker has achieved a lot during his long career. Here is all you need to know about the great man who changed the Indian Cinema, V Shantaram :

  • V Shantaram has shaped the history of Indian cinema by introducing sound and colour to the movies. He was born on 18th November 1901 in Kolhapur, Maharashtra and died at the age of 88 on 30th October 1990  in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.
  • He started directing films at the age of 18, which included the famous Gopalkrishna in 1929.

Also Read: Indian art gaining worldwide recognition

Indian cinema wouldn't have been the same without V Shantaram and his contributions towards it. Pixabay
Indian cinema wouldn’t have been the same without V Shantaram and his contributions towards it. Pixabay
  • V Shantaram, who was also famously known as Annasaheb, used cinema as an instrument to bring in social changes, advocate humanism and raise a voice against injustice.
  • He was also a supporter of strong female characters and women empowerment. One of his earlier films, ‘Kunku’ was about a young girl who is forced into a marriage with an older man and how she bravely protests against it. His film, ‘Manoos’ is the love story of a police officer and a prostitute.
  • When sound was introduced to the cinema in the 1930s, V Shantaram made the first bilingual film in the history of Indian cinema called ‘Ayodhyecha Raja’ or ‘Ayodhya Ka Raja’ in Hindi.
He introduced colour and music to indian Cinema. Wikimedia Commons
He introduced colour and music to Indian Cinema. Wikimedia Commons
  • V Shantaram was a multi-talented man. His interest also lied in music and he actively participated in the creation of music in his films. It is said that he also ‘ghost-wrote’ music for many of his music directors.
  • V Shantaram also had a long list of admirers, from veteran actor Rajesh Khanna to international star Charlie Chaplin who was a great fan of his film, ‘Manoos’.

Also Read: Indian Diaspora: Dissecting the incredible 

  • V Shantaram was recipient of many awards and honors, he was bestowed with the Dadasaheb Phalke Lifetime Achievement Award in 1985 and received the prestigious Padma Vibhushan in 1992. He won the National Film Awards and also the President’s Gold Medal. His movies were also screenedin many international film festivals. He also received nominations in the Golden Globe Awards.
A still from his famous movie, 'Shakuntala.' Wikimedia Commons
A still from his famous movie, ‘Shakuntala.’ Wikimedia Commons
  • His 1942 movie, ‘Shakuntala’ ran for 104 weeks in Mumbai.
  • His personal life is also very interesting, he had three wives. He was one of the first men who took divorce after it became legal in 1956.
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Indian Cinema Holds a Special Place in The Heart of Anupam Kher

Like Anupam always says, "Kucch bhi ho sakta hai (anything can happen)", seeing his journey so far, he wonders how god has forever been kind to him

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Anupam Kher
History will not misjudge Manmohan Singh: Anupam. Flickr

From working in Indian films for over three decades to achieving global fame with several international projects, veteran actor Anupam Kher, who is currently in the US shooting for his new American series “New Amsterdam”, says he can never overlook Indian cinema for foreign projects.

“It feels good when I get recognition for my international movies and shows, but for me, my own (Indian) cinema is very much important. When I am in some foreign country, I always introduce myself as, ‘I am an international actor from India’.

“Being an Indian actor, I cannot overlook our cinema. And I feel there is no dearth of South Asian actors in world cinema because it completely depends upon the person whether he/she wants to act in international projects or not. Our Indian cinema is self-sufficient in its own way,” Anupam Kher told IANS over phone from New York.

After playing pivotol roles in Oscar-nominated Hollywood movies like “Silver Linings Playbook” and “The Big Sick”, the 63-year-old is currently working in medical drama “New Amsterdam”.

According to Anupam, he has “reinvented” himself by essaying the role of Vijay Kapoor in the show.

Anupam Kher
Anupam Kher, flickr

“Through ‘New Amsterdam’, one of the main things I have learnt is the relationship between doctors and patients. For this show, we are shooting in a real hospital, so I often get a chance to meet patients and doctors. Interacting with the patients made me understand the real value of relations and emotions.

“Now I know what families go through if their loved ones are battling with some illness. I am evolving as a person with this project.”

As the show is already on air and is garnering great response from viewers, Anupam Kher considers this project a “huge achievement”.

Like Anupam Kher always says, “Kucch bhi ho sakta hai (anything can happen)”, seeing his journey so far, he wonders how god has forever been kind to him.

Be it his negative role in “Dushmani” or his comic avatar in “Haseena Maan Jayegi”, the versatile actor, who has been entertaining people with his performances for over 30 years. He has also been feted with civilian honours like the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan.

Anupam Kher
Anupam Kher (Wikimedia Common)

“A young boy from Shimla who dreamt of becoming an actor, successfully paved a path in Bollywood and is now working in Hollywood. What else could I have asked for? I feel blessed that god has always been kind to me. This project has given me a different kind of achievement. I always wanted to do something different and now I have reinvented and explored my new side with ‘New Amsterdam’,” he added.

Apart from his international projects, Anupam Kher is also preparing for his next Hindi film “The Accidental Prime Minister”, a biopic based on the life of former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Anupam Kher, who plays Manmohan Singh in the film, underwent transformation to get into the role. He says it is one of the most challenging roles he has ever done.

Also Read- IAU Names Two Lunar Craters to Honour NASA’s Apollo 8

The actor said: “It took 4-5 months to make my body language similar to Manmohanji and a complete month for having control over my voice. It was not like ‘Go inside (the make-up room) and come out (dressed) as Manmohan Singh’. The character demanded huge hard work and I tried my best to play the role with sincerity and conviction.

“Portraying Dr Manmohan Singh’s life on-screen was like a scientist working on his/her discoveries and theories because it is not easy to represent someone who is known by the world. Manmohan Singh is a politician and leader of this generation. People know everything about him. I hope I have done justice to his character.” (IANS)