Shyam Benegal conferred D Litt by Calcutta University

Kolkata: Veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal was today awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Literature by the University of Calcutta.

University Chancellor and West Bengal Governor M K Narayanan conferred the degree (honoris causa) to Benegal, 77, during the convocation ceremony.

Addressing teachers and students of the university, Benegal said the definition of education should also include cinema.

"For long we have subscribed to the belief that the only path to education is literacy. But it is now time that we modify this view to include cinema," he said.

Stressing that the study of film is as important as language and literature, the "Ankur" director said, "Cinema is far more accessible than the written word. We learn more easily and with greater immediacy with the medium."

"Cinema has its own language with a grammar, vocabulary, syntax and idioms," Benegal said, adding that it should be a part of school curriculum.
Honoured in 2005 with the Dadasaheb Phalke, the highest award in Indian cinema for lifetime achievement, Benegal has also won the Padma Bhushan. He has a number of National Film Awards to his credit.

Having led the parallel cinema movement in India since the seventies with pathbreaking films like "Manthan", "Nishant" and "Bhumika", Benegal has tried various genres in his illustrious four-decade-old career.

In the last few years, he has tasted success with a comedy like "Welcome to Sajjanpur" (2008) and the political satire "Well Done Abba" (2010).