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Shyam Benegal

Shyam Benegal

Filmmaker and Philosopher

by Samir Chopra
Publication Date: 11/02/2021
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For over forty years, Shyam Benegal has been one the leading forces in Indian cinema. Informed by a rich political and philosophical sensibility and a mastery of the art and craft of filmmaking, Benegal is both of, and not of, Bollywood.
As a philosophical filmmaker Benegal brings to life the existential crisis of the downtrodden Indian, the 'subaltern' if you will the serf, the peasant, the woman and imposes a distinctive philosophical vision on his cinematic reworkings of literary products. To understand Benegal's cinema is to understand, through his lens, modern India's continued process of political and social becoming.

Focusing on the philosophical depth of Benegal's oueuvre, Samir Chopra identifies three key aspects of his work-
- A trio of films which signalled to middle-class India that a revolt was brewing in India's hinterlands
- Two sets of movies which make powerful feminist statements and bring viewers into the lives of Indian women by showcasing strong, interesting female characters
- Benegal the master storyteller, who possessed of a unique fabulist style in a reboot of the Indian epic Mahabharata, a Ruskin Bond novel set during the Indian Mutiny of 1857, and a Rashomon-like retelling of an Indian experimental novel, where three perspectives converge to form a unified whole
Social & political philosophy
Publication Date:
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Country of origin:
United Kingdom
Dimensions (mm):

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