27 October, 2020

An Indian Samar

Good news for cinelovers,Shyam Benegal's back with a bang

An Indian Samar

A rather unusual detour for Shyam Benegal, this. On a creative journey from the Bundelkhand region of MP, the setting of his new film, Samar, to the heart of western UP, where his next project, Hari Bhari, is located, the 65-year-old Mumbai-based film-maker has pitched his tent in Hyderabad, the city of his boyhood. But he doesn't see it as a return to his roots. The only reason I'm shooting at the Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad is the convenience, he confesses. So, for his story of five women from three generations of a rural north Indian family, Benegal has brought a whiff of western UP to the outskirts of Hyderabad. Sets, streets, interiors have been fabricated here to represent the region, he explains.

If that's a trifle baffling coming from a film-maker who's always been a stickler for authentic backdrops and naturalistic regionalised accents, both of which are in ample evidence in Samar, no less strange is the fact that this year's Best Film national award for Samar, an introspective critique of the caste system, is Benegal's first in a 26-year feature film-making...



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