Has a script on Princess Niloufer of the Ottoman empire

Shyam Benegal has about 70-odd films to his credit, including about 30 that are full-length feature films.

His name has been synonymous with cinema in India for over three decades and he boasts of awards given to the highest achievements in the space of film-making.

Yet, at the age of 78 years, he finds himself at a disadvantage unable to source funds required to can his pet projects.

Work on biopic

If he had about US $35 million to $40 million, he would straightaway launch work on a biopic around Tipu Sultan’s descendants, Ustad Inayat Khan and his daughter Noor Inayat Khan.

He also has a script ready to make a film on Princess Niloufer of the Ottoman empire.

Ask him with a certain degree of disbelief as to how a man like him would find it difficult to convince a production house to cough up the money and he says with a wry smile, “It is true. The projects are so complex and the logistics cumbersome that they need a large canvas spanning continents.

“Every scene has to be recreated from the past, starting from scratch. The budget required is simply too much.”

Closer to the Indian heart, he says he is almost ready for a serial on the making of the Indian Constitution.

“I have been working for about eight months, writing the draft and showing it to people and I am convinced that I am on track.

The greatness of our Constitution and the hard work of those who scripted it, defining the people as individuals and India as a nation and their respective roles have to be narrated.”

Legacy for generations

Mr. Benegal said the inspiration for a serial on the Constitution came from his belief that people needed to know the background and that he was sure of its success, as much as his ‘Bharat Ek Khoj’, based on Pandit Nehru’s book, ‘Discovery of India’ was. “These should form the legacy that we leave behind for the future generations,” he says with deep conviction.

Getting the award

Ask him how he felt about receiving the Akkineni Nageswara Rao National Award considering that he has received oh-so-many of them, he smiles again says, “Awards for awards’ sakes don’t mean anything. But when they are in recognition of your work, they mean the world and are welcome.”


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