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Shyam Benegal Biography

Shyam Benegal, a  director who has carved a niche for himself in Indian cinema, was born on 14 December 1934 in Alwal, Hyderabad. Initially, he started off in the advertising industry before moving on to movies. He made his directorial debut with Gher Betha Ganga in 1962, though he became famous for his film Ankur in 1973.

He is known for his quartet of movies Ankur (1973), Nishant (1975), Manthan (1976) and Bhumika (1977), which brought several talented actors like Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Smita Patil, Kulbhushan Kharbanda and Amrish Puri to the forefront. His movie Manthan, set against the backdrop of Gujarat’s dairy industry was very different from other movies in the sense that nearly 5 lakh farmers in Gujarat, each of whom contributed Rs 2 , produced the film and later made it a hit at the box office.

His other famous movies include films like Junoon (1979) and Kalyug (1981). He directed television serials like Yatra (1986) for the Indian Railways, and Bharat ek Khoj (1988), a serial based on Jawaharlal Nehru’s Discovery of India.

In recognition of his contribution to Indian cinema, he was awarded the Padma Shri in 1976 and the Padma Bhushan in 1991.