By Mansoor Khan, Glamsham Editorial
V.Shantaram, fondly called Annasaheb in the film fraternity, is one of the cornerstones of Indian Cinema. He was born on this day in 1901. Though the younger generation may be unaware of this veteran actor, director and producer but the passionate cine-goers know that he was a keystone of Indian Cinema in its formative years. Glamsham.Com proudly remembers the legend on his 112 birth anniversary.
Beginning his career as a curtain puller with the Gandharva Natak Mandali, V. Shantaram with his zeal, dedication and his creative genius reached the pinnacle of Indian film Industry. So much so that when Hollywood comic legend and filmmaker Charlie Chaplin saw his movie MANOOS at an International film festival Chaplin went up to Shantaram and appreciated him for making a bold and socially relevant film. The movie MANOOS, later remade in Hindi as AADMI, touched the bold and sensitive issue of sex worker rehabilitation in society.
V. Shantaram took cinema as a media to reach out to the people hence he was instrumental in making movies that tackled social issues which conveyed message like DUNIYA NA MANE, was a bold film that depicted the rebel of a young woman married to an old man; DR. KOTNIS KI AMAR KAHANI, an inspirational biopic of an Indian doctor Dwarkanath Kotnis, who sacrificed his life to save the life of war victims in China during World War II, PADOSI, depicting communal harmony.
However the movie that made V. Shantaram immortal in the annals of Indian Cinema is DO AANKHEN BARAH HAATH, which depicted the humane side of rehabilitating the criminals with love and compassion. The idea was inspired from a real life 'Open Jain' in Swatantrapur in the princely state of Aundh near Satara (Maharashtra) during pre-independence.
Besides an emotional and gripping story the highlight of the movie was its motivating devotional bhajan 'Aye maalik tere bande hum...' sung by Lata Mangeshkar, written by Bharat Vyas and composed by music wizard Vasant Desai.
The bhajan became such a sensation that it is even today sung as morning prayers in many schools of India. And what may stun the readers is that the Bhajan is even recited in a school in Pakistan as the school's anthem!
DO AANKHEN BARAH HAATH fetched Shantaram many awards like National Film Awards, Golden Berlin Bear at Berlin International Film Festival and Samuel Goldwyn Award at Golden Globe Awards.
The Indian government saluted him by conferring on him Dadasaheb Phalke Award and Padma Vibhushan.