Shyam Benegal is a name that evokes awe in the minds of all mature audiences. Best known for making hard-hitting films like Nishanth and Mandi, he has also idolized the strong Indian woman in Manthan, Zubeidaa, and Sardari Begum. He is a trailblazer, having spearheaded the advent of ‘middle cinema’.
For his next venture, however, he is treading unfamiliar ground. Mahadev, which is a romantic love story with a satirical base, is set in rural India. The story is by Ashok Mishra and the lead roles will be played by the talented Shreyas Talpade and Amrita Rao, both of whom are gearing up for their roles as they practice the dialect of the village in Hyderabad.
Shyam Benegal talks about Mahadev, calling it a contemporary film with a young star cast, which the new generation will be able to relate to. He says that he is making a comedy after a quarter of a century, his last being Mandi, which fell into the genre of black comedy. Evidently, it has emerged from the germ of an idea that was within him for ages. Winner of 4 National Awards and an institution in himself, Benegal is looking forward to this film as it is a question of reinventing himself. The film industry is also waiting eagerly for this offering, which will be ready by the end of next year.
The tale is about one of the village of Saijanpur that remains cut off from globalization, untouched by all the advances that technology has made over the decades. Satellite television and Internet are terms that have never been heard of, and the villagers are typical illiterate prototypes who are content with the lives they lead. The hero is a young man who yearns to be a writer but ends up as a letter writer, as he is the only person there who can read and write. The film revolves around the importance of letter writers in the rural scenario and weaves an innocent love story in this milieu. Politics, romance, and the dreams of a young man are other themes Benegal explores in this film.
About the film
The film is being produced by Chetan Motiwala and the music is being done by the awesome duo that produced the tuneful melodies in Parineeta, Swanand Kirkire and Shantanu Moitra.
Benegal has proved that he is still willing to experiment with a new genre. Isn’t it this spark that makes him what he is – a prolific director with the Midas touch?