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Shyam Benegal driven by joy of film-making

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Shyam Benegal
Shyam Benegal

"You don’t make movies only to win awards”

New Delhi: Dadasaheb Phalke award winner Shyam Benegal says he has made films for the joy of the experience, than being guided by what would sell.

Mr. Benegal, who broke new ground in cinematic trends in the Seventies through his debut film Ankur, told PTI that he did not believe in the idea of a “unique selling point” but made films he enjoyed himself.

“I don’t know what it [USP] is. But I like to make films that I can largely enjoy myself. Because you know ultimately what I experience are works of art, great works of art... that kind of work may not always succeed,” the 73-year-old film-maker said.

Several films he had made such as Ankur, Nishant, Manthan, Bhumika, Kondura, Junoon, Kalyug, Mandi and The Making of the Mahatma, as well the documentary series, The Discovery of India, had earned him national and global acclaim and enriched cinema. On receiving the Phalke award, Mr. Benegal said though it was a lifetime achievement award, for him the “show must go on.”

“Winning an award is one aspect of film-making. But you don’t make films only to win awards. Rather, you want it to be seen and enjoyed by the people. And the sense and insight in terms of life you can provide them through your films,” he said.

On the controversy surrounding National Film Awards, he said: “That is a bit unfortunate. I find that it tends to mar its prestige. I don’t think that is particularly nice to do that. You have chosen the jury so let the jury do whatever it decides.”

Mr. Benegal, who has over the years made his mark through meaningful movies, said: “Film-making is something that you have to learn and work on and study. I don’t know if anybody has it in their genes... As far as film-making is concerned, it is better you learn the tricks of the trade.” — PTI

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