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Cannes 2024: India's first crowdfunded film by Shyam Benegal's Manthan to be screened

Talented filmmaker Shyam Benegal's Manthan, featuring Smita Patil, also showed the power of the crowd. 5,00,000 farmers entirely crowdfunded it, making Manthan the first crowdfunded Indian film.

Cannes 2024 India's first crowdfunded film by Shyam Benegal's Manthan to be screened RBA
First Published Apr 30, 2024, 11:42 AM IST

Shyam Benegal's restored 1976 film Manthan, starring Smita Patil, will be shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 2024. The film is based on Verghese Kurien's pioneering milk cooperative movement, known for the White Revolution, which transformed India into the world's largest milk producer and gave rise to the billion-dollar brand Amul.

Aside from the film's enormous success, it also proved the power of the crowd, since it was totally crowdfunded by 5,00,000 farmers who each gave Rs 2. Manthan was the first crowdfunded Indian film. The budget for the film was Rs 10-12 lakh, but the producer didn't have enough money, so they began collecting contributions from farmers. Following the film's debut, farmers flocked to see it, making it a box office hit.

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Manthan will be presented in the Cannes Classics section, honouring film legends through restored prints and documentaries.  

“So proud that Film Heritage Foundation will be at the Cannes Film Festival for the third year in a row with another world premiere of a remarkable restoration – Shyam Benegal’s film “Manthan” that had compelling performances from an exceptional cast including Smita Patil. Just amazing the work that Film Heritage Foundation does to preserve, restore and showcase the best of India’s film heritage to the world”, Amitabh Bachchan tweeted.

As Amitabh Bachchan mentioned, this is the third year in which the foundation's restored film would be exhibited in Cannes. Previously, in 2022, FHF exhibited the restored version of G Aravindan's Malayalam film Thampu (1978) at Cannes Classics, followed by the restoration of Manipuri filmmaker Aribam Syam Sharma's film Ishanou last year in the same category.

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Manthan received two National Film Awards in 1977: Best Feature Film in Hindi and Best Screenplay for Vijay Tendulkar. It was also India's official entry for the 1976 Academy Awards' Best Foreign Language Film category. Preeti Sagar sang the title song, Mero Gaam Katha Parey, which was later utilised as the music for Amul's television advertising.  

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