Shyam Benegal's 'Manthan': Restored version of farmers-funded classic shines at Cannes | Bollywood - Hindustan Times

Shyam Benegal's 'Manthan': Restored version of farmers-funded classic shines at Cannes

May 18, 2024 10:05 AM IST

Shyam Benegal's 'Manthan': Restored version of farmers-funded classic shines at Cannes

Cannes, Veteran director Shyam Benegal's "Manthan", a film financed by 5 lakh farmers of Gujarat 48 years ago, made a triumphant return to the spotlight and public consciousness with its screening at the Cannes Film Festival.

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A restored version of the 1976 movie, inspired by the groundbreaking milk cooperative movement by Dr Verghese Kurien that transformed India into one of the largest milk producers in the world, was showcased under the Cannes Classics segment on Friday.

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Veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah walked the red carpet at Cannes along with wife Ratna Pathak Shah, late co-star Smita Patil's son Prateik Babbar, Dr Kurien's daughter Nirmala Kurien, and Amul MD Jayen Mehta.

"'Manthan' team of Naseeruddin Shah, Ratna Pathak Shah, Prateik Babbar, Ms Nirmala Kurien, @FHF_Official team, & Shri @Jayen_Mehta , MD, Amul, representing 3.6 million farmer producers of the film at @Festival_Cannes #ManthanAtCannes," the official X page of Amul posted.

Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, founder of Film Heritage Foundation , the not-for-profit organisation behind the restored print, also attended the film's screening.

"Film Heritage Foundation returned to the red carpet at Cannes for a third year in a row last night at the world premiere of our restoration of Shyam Benegal’s landmark film 'Manthan', produced by 500,000 dairy farmers, at the Cannes Film Festival 2024," FHF posted on X.

Fronted by Patil, the film was inspired by the milk cooperative movement of Verghese Kurien, who led 'Operation Flood' to transform India from a milk-deficient country to one of the world's biggest milk producer and is credited for creating the billion-dollar brand Amul.

Co-written by Benegal and celebrated playwright Vijay Tendulkar, Gujarat-set "Manthan" was one of its kind as it was entirely crowdfunded by 5 lakh farmers who donated 2 each.

The film won two National Film Awards in 1977: for best feature film in Hindi and for best screenplay for Tendulkar. It was also India's official entry to the 1976 Academy Awards in the best foreign language film category.

Benegal, who skipped the premiere due to health reasons, recalled how the farmers of Gujarat also made the film a hit by watching it en masse in theatres.

"The farmers, who had produced the film, helped make it successful. Once the film opened in Saurashtra, Gujarat, it had an excellent run. It was because of the farmers, they were the original audience of the film. They got their families.

"They wanted everybody to see it as they believed it was their film. They all would come on bullock carts to see the film, be it from Ahmedabad, Baroda or other places in Gujarat. We didn't do any kind of publicity, the film developed its own momentum," the 89-year-old filmmaker told PTI earlier this week.

"Manthan" is the third consecutive movie restored by the FHF to head to Cannes, one of the most prestigious film galas around the world.

The FHF brought a restoration of G Aravindan's Malayalam movie "Thampu" to Cannes Classics in 2022, followed by the restored "Ishanou" directed by Manipuri auteur Aribam Syam Sharma under the same segment last year.

According to the festival's official website, the restoration of "Manthan" was carried out using the 35mm original camera negative preserved at the NFDC-National Film Archive of India with sound digitised from the 35 mm release print preserved at Film Heritage Foundation.

It was restored at Prasad Corporation Pvt. Ltd.’s Post–Studios, Chennai and L’Immagine Ritrovata Laboratory, in association with Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd, cinematographer Govind Nihalani and Benegal.

This article was generated from an automated news agency feed without modifications to text.

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