'Bite the Mango' film festival is proud to focus on the work of V.
Shantaram this year by screening four of his films as well as a rare
look at a documentary of his life. There will be an introduction to
the work of Shantaram by Indian film historian and critic Lalit Mohan
Shantaram lived a long and presumably a happy life, just short of
90 years. He began his professional life in his teens with the legendary
singer and actor, Bal Ghandarva's theatre company as a gofer and
odd job boy. Within a couple of years he found employment at a local
cinema and shortly after he became an assistant to the photographer,
Baburao Painter. He would act in 15 films over the next nine years,
playing roles ranging from impoverished peasants and opulent princes
to gods of the Hindu pantheon. In 1929, he directed his first film,
the age of 28, already a veteran actor and director, he started
the Prabhat Film Studio with three of his colleagues, Fattelal,
Damle, and Keshavrao Dhaiber. For the next 13 years Prabhat Studios
would produce some of the most trail blazing and memorable films
of Indian cinema, a large number of them directed by Shantaram.
1942, Shantaram broke away from Prabhat to start his own film studio,
the Rajkamal Kalamandir in Bombay. Some of the memorable films he
directed at Rajkamal were Dr. Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani, Do Aankhen
Bara Haath and Lok Shahir Ramjoshi. Prolific as he was as a producer
and director of cinema features, Shantaram helped to set up a Film
Advisory Board for the Government of India as its Chief Producer
during the war.
Shantaram passed away in 1990 the Indian film business as an established
industry was 77 years old. He was part of it for 73 of those years.
His first 15 films were made during the silent era. His last film
was made when digital technology had made its entry into the cinema.
If Indian cinema could be given human form, it could well look like
Na Maane (1937)
Aankhen Barah Haath (1957)
Jhanak Payal Baje (1955)
Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani (1946)
SHOWING AT 'BITE THE MANGO' FILM FESTIVAL 2003
Dir: V. Shantaram, India, 1959, tbc mins
Aankhen Barah Haath Dir: V. Shantaram , India, 1957, tbc mins
Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani Dir: V. Shantaram, India, 1946, tbc mins
Jhanak Payal Baje Dir: V. Shantaram , India, 1955, tbc mins
courtesy of Bite
The Mango Film Festival.