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Renowned director Shyam Benegal opens up about funding challenges in film industry

Shyam Benegal, at 88, discusses film funding challenges and his return with "Mujib: The Making of a Nation." He highlights the complexity of making political biopics due to recent, widely-known history

Renowned director Shyam Benegal opens up about funding challenges in film industry ATG
First Published Oct 27, 2023, 12:01 PM IST

Renowned filmmaker Shyam Benegal, at the age of 88, continues to be a vibrant presence in the ever-evolving world of cinema. At a recent screening of his latest project, "Mujib: The Making of a Nation," he provided valuable insights into how he remains relevant in the film industry. Benegal also shared the challenges he faces when it comes to securing funding for his future film ventures.

Shyam Benegal's Struggles with Film Funding Shyam Benegal, a cinematic legend, has made a triumphant return to the director's chair with "Mujib: The Making of a Nation," a collaborative endeavor between India and Bangladesh. This thought-provoking film graced Indian screens on October 27.

Despite his return to filmmaking, when asked about his next project, Benegal responded with a touch of humor, saying, "You tell me what should be my next film! I don't know. I was working on a film about Syama Prasad Mukherjee, but it was a while ago, and unfortunately, it never came to fruition due to funding issues. I'm not inclined to embark on a film project that isn't adequately funded."

Benegal, the director behind acclaimed films like "Zubeidaa," also opened up about the reasons behind his extended absence from the cinematic landscape, despite being a prominent figure in the industry. His last film, "Well Done Abba," a quirky political satire featuring Boman Irani and Minissha Lamba, was released in 2010. According to Benegal, the hiatus is due to his inclination towards subjects that stand apart from the mainstream. He stated, "I don't choose subjects that align with the themes of 90% of contemporary films."

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Challenges of Filmmaking about Political Figures Shyam Benegal also addressed the difficulties involved in creating biopics about political figures, emphasizing the need for caution when delving into historical narratives. He noted that producing biopics about politicians is a complex task, primarily because it involves recent history, and opinions are widely held. Unlike discussing events from centuries ago, where details have faded into obscurity, recent political history is known to everyone. When making such a film, managing criticism becomes a critical aspect of the process.

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