Shantaram Rajaram Vankudre, fondly referred to as V. Shantaram, Shantaram Bapu or Annasaheb, in addition to being a successful director, was also was an exceptional film producer and actor. He is widely known for his early role in the introduction of sound and colour to the Indian cinema.
He is also widely known for his films like Dr. Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani (1946), Amar Bhoopali (1951), Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje (1955), Do Aankhen Barah Haath (1957), Navrang (1959), Duniya Na Mane (1937), Pinjra (1972), Chani, Iye Marathiche Nagari and Zunj.
Here’s all you need to know about this exceptional personality who shaped the history of Indian Cinema through his 6 decade long career.
- He was born on 18 November 1901, in the princely state of Kolhapur (present-day Maharashtra) to a humble Jain family. He started his career in the creative field doing odd jobs in Maharashtra Film Co. owned by Baburao Painter at Kolhapur. After his short stint as a theatre artist, he directed a few films, at the age of 18, which included the famous Gopalkrishna in 1929. A man of many talents, he made his debut as an actor in the silent film Surekha Haran in 1921.
- When sound became a reality of cinema in early 1930s, this filmmaker was the first to make a bilingual film in the history of Indian cinema called Ayodhyecha Raja (Marathi) or Ayodhya Ka Raja (Hindi).
- Annasaheb, through his 66-year-old career, was known to use cinema as an instrument to effect social change, advocate humanism and expose bigotry and injustice. This powerful vision reflected in his films that brought to the silver screen stories that rested on the shoulders of its strong female leads. Be it the story of the young girl who is forced into a bemel vivah with an older man in the Marathi film, Kunku or the love story of a police officer and a prostitute, in the famous Marathi film, Manoos.
- He was also interested in music and actively participated in the music creation and production of his films. He was also remembered to have ‘ghost-written’ music for many of his music directors.
- He had admirers ranging from veteran Indian actor Rajesh Khanna to silent era king, English comic actor, filmmaker, and composer Charlie Chaplin who loved Annasaheb’s film, Manoos.
- The veteran filmmaker, actor and producer was bestowed the Dadasaheb Phalke Lifetime Achievement Award in 1985 and conferred the prestigious Padma Vibhushan in 1992. He won the National Film Awards of 1955 for All India Certificate of Merit for Best Feature Film for Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje. He also won the President’s Gold Medal for the All India Best Feature Film and the Berlin International Film Festival, OCIC Award for Do Aankhen Barah Haath in 1957 and 1958 respectively. He also bagged the Grand Prix for the Best Sound Recording awarded by the Centre National de la Cinematographic, Pais at the Cannes Film Festival in 1952 for Amar Bhoopali.
Read more: Shamshad Begum: Hindi Cinema’s Original Nightingale
He left for his heavenly abode on 30 October 1990 in Mumbai. The India Post immortalised the veteran filmmaker by issuing a postage stamp, bearing his likeness on 17 November 2001.
Gone but never forgotten, Late V Shantaram’s legacy continues to live on!
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