Google Doodle today paid tribute to the legendary Indian filmmaker V. Shantaram on his 116th birthday with images of the filmmaker, his camera and his cult classic creations – DO ANKHEN BARAH HAATH, NAVRANG greeting every netizen and public in general. The filmmaker who changed the sound and colour of Indian cinema is more than those images and how the greatest icons on earth Amitabh Bachchan and Charlie Chaplin are connected with this legendary ‘Manoos’ of our cinema.
Born on November 18, 1901, it seems God has stopped making people like Shantaram Rajaram Vankudre aka V. Shantaram nowadays. Shantaram started his creative career as a theatre artist. After joining the Maharashtra Film Company at the age of 18, made a significant and reformist mark in Indian cinema with bold themes that involved a forced marriage of a young girl to an ageing man and how the girl braves social ridicule by refusing his demands to consummate the marriage in the Marathi 1937 classic KUNKU. KUNKU was later remade in Hindi as DUNIYA NA MANE, the movie was shown at the Venice International Film Festival and was hailed for stark attack on child marriage and the treatment of women in Indian society.
Two years later came the cult classic MANOOS in Marathi which was remade in Hindi as AADMI. The bold, relevant and hard hitting drama about a policeman who marries a sex worker in order to better her life but is faced by an unforgiving society made the incredible and incomparable Charlie Chaplin moved immensely by the film. Sir Charles Spencer – ‘‘Charlie" Chaplin saw the film at an international film festival and appreciated the film by calling it a bold and relevant Indian classic.
The filmmaker who gave Marathi cinema its first colored feature – PINJRA (1972) also released in Hindi with the same title is another historical hallmark achieved by the legendary filmmaker Shantaram. Loosely based on the German movie DER BLAUE ENGEL, PINJAR like MANOOS, KUNKU dared to push the envelope with the story of a morally righteousness school teacher, Dr. Shriram Lagoo ( his debut), who wants to reform a Tamasha performer, played Sandhya, but ends up falling in love with her. “Mala lagali kunachi uchaki" this number from the film has occupied a special place amongst Marathi film and music aficionados.
Shantaram established the Rajkamal Studio and went on to create milestones with NAVRANG, AMAR BHOOPLAI, DO AANKHEN BARAH HAATH, etc.
The icon for the icons Amitabh Bachchan who considers Shantaram as one of his inspirations, during an ad shoot in 2013 got nostalgic as he was shooting at the legendary filmmakers iconic Rajkamal Studios. The studio holds great nostalgic value to the star of the millennium as he shot those iconic scenes for DEEWAR that time.
The megastar posted on his social media saying, "At Rajkamal Studios, iconic, strange nostalgia - Shooting on the same floor of Deewar fight, temple 'khush toh..' and death scene. Just outside the main gate of the floor. The 'mere paas ma hai' sequence, now filled out with high rise,"
It’s a sad loss that the Indian audience couldn,t see the combination of Amitabh Bachchan and V Shantaram coming together for a hard hitting cinema. Shantaram won numerous awards including Silver Bear for Extraordinary Prize of the Jury, at the Berlin Film Festival in 1958 for DO AANKHEN BARAH HAATH, the Grand Prix for the Best Sound Recording awarded by the Centre National de la Cinematographic, Pais at the Cannes Film Festival at the Cannes Film Festival in 1952 for AMAR BHOOPLAI, and was the recipient of the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1986.
Google doodle on his 116th has tried to make the world remember the extraordinary Indian filmmaker who made Chaplin take notice of his cinema and inspired icons like Amitabh Bachchan. Shantaram may not be with us physically but his works are still alive and relevant. Imagine the scenario if movies like MANOOS and KUNKU are made today, looking at today’s degree of tolerance amongst people and their groups, it will surely trigger a debate. A reform is needed in this existing world of intolerance in the society and unwanted sequels and remakes in the film industry.
What about a remake of DO AANKHEN BARAH HAATH set in today’s times starring the magnificent Amitabh Bachchan as the retired Jailer!!. Kasyap, Sarkar, Tiwari, Hirani and Pandey’s of today, are you listening..
Long Live V Shantaram, we wish you a very happy 116 th Birthday.