Shyam Benegal conferred with Excellence in Cinema Award

London: Filmmaker Shyam Benegal, who is known as the father of the new wave cinema in Bollywood, has been presented with the South Asian Cinema Foundation`s Excellence in Cinema Award here last evening.

The 77-year-old has been chosen for the award for his outstanding contribution to the Indian Cinema.

Rita Bhagwati, wife of the Indian High Commissioner to the UK Dr Jaimini, presented the award to Benegal at British Film Institute (BFI) Southbank.

The citation described Benegal as "the pioneer of the new Indian Cinema Movement".

While, receiving the award the recipient of Dadasaheb Phalke Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2005 said, "I am absolutely delighted at this award and I will continue to make films. Any award is a kind of recognition. I accept it with great delight and pleasure. I still have a long way to go. For me it is important."

Later, answering questions from SACF Director Lalit Mohan Joshi, Benegal said, "Empowerment of women is an important aspect of women in India. Without reservation you can not have women in mainstream politics."

He was also all praise for young filmmakers like Vishal Bharadwaj and Anuraj Kashyap.

Asked why he did not opt for leading actors like Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan in his films, Benegal said "It was not necessarily out of choice. Amitabh Bachchan is a marvellous actor. I wanted him in Kalyug."

Benegal said he never looked back at his career.

"I don`t look back at all. Past is a trap. It is a maze. You get caught. Everytime you make a film, you are reinventing yourselves."

Benegal is the sixth filmmaker SACF has honoured. ‘Bhumika’ and "Junoon" two of his excellent works were also screened on the occasion.

Previous recipients of the award were M S Sathyu (2004), Adoor Gopalakrishnan (2006), Saeed Akhtar Mirza (2008), Girish Kasaravalli (2009) and Gulzar(2010).


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