Early Life of V. Shantaram
V. Shantaram, originally named as Rajaram Vankudre Shantaram was born on November 18, 1901, in Kolhapur, Maharashtra. He hardly had any education. He worked in the railways as a teenager. He did odd jobs like railroad repairs and maintenance work. When he turned 16, to supplement his meagre wages he took up a job at a local tin-shed cinema where he did everything from painting signs and ushering people in, all for a very small sum of money per month.
Career of V. Shantaram
V. Shantaram started his career in the theatre as a curtain puller with the Gandharva Natak Mandali. He admired Dadasaheb Phalke and became an avid film viewer, watching western films with great interest as well. He joined Baburao Painters Maharashtra Film Company and learnt the intricacies of film-making from acting to production to working as a lab assistant. He played the role of a young farmer in Painter’s 1925 film ‘Savkari Pash’, and directed his first film, ‘Netaji Palkar’, in 1927.
In 1929 along with four other partners V.G. Damle, K.R. Dhaiber, S. Fatelal, S.B. Kulkarni, V. Shantaram formed the ‘Prabhat Film Company’ in Kolhapur. All were professionals and lacked a strong financial background, but their sound knowledge base and willingness to learn ensured the success of their studio. Prabhat Films today is regarded as a vital part of India’s cinematic history.
After leaving Prabhat Film Company, he founded ‘Rajkamal Kalamandir’ in 1942, which became one of the most sophisticated, well-equipped studios of the time. He is recognized as one of the early film directors to realize the power of a film as a medium to propagate social concerns. He effectively advocated humanism with his movies.
Apart from being an actor, director and producer V. Shantaram also served as Chairperson of the Children's Film Society in the late 1970s. Shantaram made films for an astonishing six long decades. The 1987 film ‘Jhanjhar’ was the last film he directed. V. Shantaram died on October 30, 1990, in Mumbai.
Movies of V. Shantaram
Films like ‘Gopal Krishna’, ‘Khooni Khanjar’, ‘Rani Saheba’ and ‘Udaykal’, all of them were directed by V.Shantaram. He is also widely known for his films like ‘Dr. Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani’ (1946), ‘Amar Bhoopali’ (1951), ‘Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje’ (1955), ‘Do Aankhen Barah Haath’ (1957), ‘Navrang’ (1959), ‘Duniya Na Mane’ (1937), ‘Pinjra’ (1972), ‘Chani’, ‘Iye Marathiche Nagari’ and ‘Zunj’.
Awards and Achievements of V. Shantaram
V. Shantaram was conferred with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1985 and Padma Vibhushan in 1992 for his outstanding contribution to Indian cinema. He has won several awards and accolades including All India Certificate of Merit for Best Feature Film, President’s Medal for Best Feature Film, Filmfare Award, Berlin International Film Festival Special Prize and others.