The Nehru Centre London SACF Sannidhya London Dialogue 8.
In its eighth edition of SACF Sannidhya Dialogue on literature, cinema and fine arts, India’s veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal was in conversation with film historian Lalit Mohan Joshi.
The event was organised in association with the Minister for Culture and the Director Nehru Centre, Amish Tripathi.
Born in Trimulgherry, Hyderabad, Shyam Benegal pioneered new cinema movement of the 1970s with his trilogy Ankur (1974), Nishant (1975) and Manthan (1976). He introduced a new generation of actors from theatre like Naseeruddin Shah, Amrish Puri, Om Puri and Kulbhushan Kharbanda as well as honed new talents like Shabana Azmi and Smita Patil.
Moving beyond rural themes Benegal explored historical themes in various films and television serials like Junoon (1978), Bharat Ek Khoj (Discovery of India,1988), The Making of the Mahatma (1996), Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose – The Forgotten Hero (2006) and Samvidhan (The Making of the Constitution of India, 2014).
With films like Kalyug (1981), Trikal (1985), Mammo (1996), Mandi and Zubeida, Shyam Benegal’s cinema explores urban conflicts, social change, women empowerment as well as communalism.
Among many awards and honours, he has received two of the highest civilian awards offered by the Indian government, the Padma Shri (1976), the Padma Bushan (1991) and the highest cinema honour Dadasaheb Phalke (2005).
Lalit Mohan Joshi is a film historian, documentary filmmaker, critic, former BBC journalist and founder Director, South Asian Cinema Foundation (SACF), a not-for-profit film education organisation aimed at highlighting meaningful cinema from South Asia in London. SACF has been working in collaboration with UK’s British Film Institute, various universities and the Nehru Centre in London to organise film festivals, film workshops and exhibitions and also hosts the Dadasaheb Phalke Memorial lecture on cinema. He was the first to invite and introduce to London audiences a number of outstanding (but less well-known filmmakers in the West) like MS Sathyu, Saeed Akhtar Mirza, Shyam Benegal, Girish Kasaravalli and Vishal Bhardwaj. He has also made seminal documentaries including ‘Beyond Partition’ (2006), Niranjan Pal: A Forgotten Legend’ (2011), ‘East Meets West: Indo-British Cinematic Encounters’ (2015). He is also the Editor, South Asian Cinema journal and has edited several books on films- Bollywood – Popular Indian Cinema, A Door to ADOOR (2006), Niranjan Pal – A Forgotten Legend (2011) and A Biographical Dictionary of Indo-British Cinema (1930-1951)
In 2018 he ran a six-week course on Literature and Hindi Cinema at the BFI. He is presently working on his new film on the Poetry of Kumaon. At the moment he is making a full-length documentary on Kumaoni Poets.