Shyam Benegal’s Restored ‘Manthan’ Headed For Cannes Festival; What Was The Theme Of 1976 Classic?

Mumbai: The restored version of National Award-winning Shyam Benegal Classic ‘Manthan’ has been chosen for screening at next month’s Cannes Film Festival.

The 1976 classic, starring Smita Patil, was inspired by Verghese Kurien’s milk cooperative movement ‘Operation Flood’, which transformed India from a milk-deficient country to the world’s biggest milk producer, and led to the birth of billion-dollar brand Amul.

‘Manthan’ will be screened under Cannes Classics, a section which features celebrations, restored prints and documentaries.

‘Manthan’ is the third movie restored by the Film Heritage Foundation (FHF) to be selected for Cannes. G Aravindan’s Malayalam 1978 film ‘Thampu’ and Manipuri movie ‘Ishanou’ – both restored by FHF – were screened as part of Cannes Classics in 2022 and 2023, respectively.

The 77th edition of Cannes Film Festival will be held from May 14 and to May 25.

“Unbelievable.. Third year in a row at Cannes Film Festival … Film Heritage Foundation is proud to bring the Restoration of Shyam Benegal’s milestone film ‘Manthan’ produced by 500,000 farmers who gave rupees 2 to produce this film… I wish Smita Patil was here to see this,” FHF founder Shivendra Singh Dungarpur said.

Smita, an accomplished actress, died of childbirth complications in 1986 at the age of 31.

‘Manthan’, co-written by Benegal and celebrated playwright Vijay Tendulkar, was the first Indian film to be entirely crowdfunded by 500,000 farmers, who donated Rs 2 each.

The film won National Awards for Best Feature Film in Hindi and Best Screenplay.

It was also India’s official entry to the 1976 Oscars in the Best Foreign Language film category.

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