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    Shyam Benegal’s Manthan to be Screened at Cannes Film Festival

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    The prestigious Cannes Film Festival is set to feature a classic gem from Indian cinema, as Shyam Benegal’s iconic film Manthan (1976) joins the lineup. The film, newly restored by the Film Heritage Foundation, will be showcased in the festival’s Classics section, adding to the rich tapestry of cinematic history being celebrated at Cannes from May 14 to 25. 

     

    Manthan tells the compelling story of the Amul dairy co-operative movement, with Girish Karnad portraying the central figure inspired by Verghese Kurien, the visionary behind India’s “White Revolution.” The film’s restoration marks a significant milestone for Indian cinema, bringing to light a pivotal moment in the country’s socio-economic landscape. 

     

    The inclusion of Manthan at Cannes underscores its enduring relevance and cinematic prowess, joining other Indian films like Payal Kapadia’s “All We Imagine As Light” and Chidanand S Naik’s “Sunflowers Were The First Ones To Know” in various festival categories. 

     

    Directed by Shyam Benegal, Manthan offers a candid portrayal of the challenges faced in uniting a community divided by economic and caste differences. Through Vijay Tendulkar’s insightful script and poignant performances by the cast, including Smita Patil and Naseeruddin Shah, the film delves into the complexities of social transformation and the power of collective action. 

     

    The restoration process, spearheaded by the Film Heritage Foundation, is a testament to the enduring legacy of Manthan and its significance in Indian cinema. Cinematographer Govind Nihalani’s masterful use of light and composition lends the film a lyrical quality, capturing the essence of rural India with authenticity and depth. 

     

    At Cannes, Manthan will be represented by director Shyam Benegal, along with Kurien’s daughter and representatives of the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation. Also in attendance will be members of Smita Patil’s family, honoring the late actress’s contribution to the film. 

     

    Naseeruddin Shah, who portrays a pivotal role in the film, expressed his nostalgia for the shooting experience, recalling the immersive process of living among the villagers during filming. 

     

    The restoration of Manthan from its original 35mm print showcases a collaborative effort involving the Film Heritage Foundation, Prasad Corporation Limited in Chennai, and the L’Immagine Ritrovata Laboratory in Bologna, Italy. The support of the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Limited further highlights the film’s enduring impact on India’s cultural landscape. 

     

    As Manthan takes center stage at Cannes, it serves as a poignant reminder of the power of cinema to illuminate social issues and inspire change, reaffirming its status as a timeless classic in Indian filmmaking. 

     

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