Google on Saturday paid tribute to veteran Indian filmmaker V. Shantaram with a doodle on his 116th birthday. Widely hailed as one of the pioneers of Indian cinema, Shantaram was a successful director, actor and producer who played a vital role in introducing sound and colour to the Indian cinema.
Born on November 18, 1901, Shantaram started his creative career as a theatre artist. After joining the Maharashtra Film Company at the age of 18, he directed a couple of films, including the highly successful Gopalkrishna in 1929, before donning the actor’s hat. With the advent of sound in early 1930s, the Maharashtrian filmmaker went on to make the first bilingual film in the history of Indian cinema, Ayodhyecha Raja (Marathi) or Ayodhya Ka Raja(Hindi) which translates to ‘The King of Ayodhya’.
Even early in his career, Shantaram was known for selecting movies with strong female characters. His film Kunku (Marathi), based on a successful novel, told the story of a young girl who, when forced to marry an ageing man, braves social ridicule by refusing his demands to consummate the marriage. His next film Manoos (Marathi) featured the love story of a police officer and a prostitute.
His other famous films include Amar Bhoopali (1951), the musical Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje (1955), Do Aankhen Barah Haath (1957) and the first Marathi film in colour, Pinjra (1972). He also set up the Rajkamal Kalamandir Studio in Bombay as a tribute to his parents Rajaram and Kamalabhai.
He has won numerous awards including Silver Bear for Extraordinary Prize of the Jury, at the Berlin Film Festival in 1958 for Do Aankhen Barah Haath (1957), 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. He was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1986.