On V Shantaram's 116th birth anniversary, a look back at some of his most influential films

FP Staff

Nov,18 2017 20:47 05 IST

Touted as one of the pioneers of Indian cinema, V Shantaram not only witnessed immense artistic evolution during the span of his career, but was also a massive contributor to the same. Shantaram added some never-seen-before styles of filmmaking to the repertoire of directors world over. The veteran filmmaker made his acting and directorial debut during the silent-cinema phase in India. He cemented his reputation early on in his career and was witness to the advent of digital technology, harnessing and using the newly developed science to his advantage in his films. In his illustrious career (which spanned over six decades) Shantaram produced 92 movies, directed 55 and acted in 25.

V Shantaram. Image from Twitter/@BombayBasanti.

V Shantaram. Image from Twitter/@BombayBasanti.

Born on 18 November, 1901, V Shantaram used his works to highlight socio-economic problems, advocating humanism even as he exposed injustice. He was honoured with the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1985 for his contribution to Indian cinema. Shantaram passed away in 1990 at the age of 89.

Here are some of his most iconic works according to us 

Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje (1955)

In our opinion, the Bollywood movie Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje is one of Shantaram's finest works. Shantaram's wife Sandhya and dancer Gopi Krishna featured in lead roles in this film, which is known as one of the best examples of early technicolour films made in India. Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje won many accolades such as the All India Certificate of Merit for Best Feature Film, the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi, and the Filmfare award for Best Film. 

Do Aankhen Barah Haath (1957)

Shantaram himself was seen in one of the lead roles in Do Aankhen Barah Haath. The critically acclaimed film bagged a Silver Bear at the 8th Berlin International Film Festival and even received a Golden Globe nomination. Do Aankhen Barah Haath is also famous for the iconic song 'Aye Maalik Tere Bande Hum', sung by Lata Mangeshkar and written by Bharat Vyas.

Navrang (1959)

Navrang is known for its iconic dance sequences which featured popular actress Sandhya. C Ramchandra's musical score also made this movie a standout. Mahendra Kapoor, a noted playback singer, made his singing debut in Navrang with the song 'Aadha Hai Chandrama Raat Aadhi'. Veteran actor Jeetendra was seen in a key role in Navrang.

Subah Ka Tara (1952)

Subah Ka Tara is a highly lauded socio-romantic drama produced by Rajkamal Kalamandir. The film's screenplay was written by Shams Lucknavi. Once again, C Ramchandra provided the music for this Shantaram film, whereas the lyrics were written by Noor Lakhnavi and Diwan Sharar. This movie also marked yesteryear's actress Rajshree's acting debut. Other members of the cast included Pradeep Kumar, Jayshree, Amirbai Karnataki, Shakuntala Paranjpye and Naaz.

Dr Kotnis ki Amar Kahani (1946)

This 1946 movie was made both in Hindi and English. The English version was named The Journey of Dr Kotnis whereas the Hindi counterpart was titled Dr Kotnis ki Amar KahaniBoth the renditions saw Shantaram in the lead role as Dr Kotnis. Jayashree starred opposite the filmmaker as the female lead. The film's premise is based on the life of Dwarkanath Kotnis, an Indian doctor who was in China during the Japanese Invasion in World War II.