'I'd love to make another film on Telangana'

HYDERABAD: "This is my janmabhumi," says Shyam Benegal about the city where he was born and adds, "I have a special feeling for Telangana for obvious reasons. I grew up here, di

Published: 20th November 2011 03:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 03:55 PM   |  A+A-

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Director Shyam Benegal along with a puppet at the 17th International Children’s Film Festival in Hyderabad on Saturday. EPS

HYDERABAD: "This is my janmabhumi," says Shyam Benegal about the city where he was born and adds, "I have a special feeling for Telangana for obvious reasons. I grew up here, did my schooling and college and my experience was all about Telangana. The city has a distinct character and a composite culture which no other place has."

Being a student of Nizam College, a constituent of the Osmania University, he draws contrast to his times and says he is worried about education of children now. "I am sad for children as it will affect their future. The university was doing great but now the education system has been fractured a little due to political involvement of the students. There are only a handful of students who are lucky to get away as their parents have money."

Talking about the influence of T culture on all his movies Benegal says, "Ankur, Nishant and Mandi have been greatly set in Telangana. The cultural character of this region appeals to me as you won't find it anywhere else." He further observes, "If I do find another story set in Telangana, I would definitely make it." Though he has also directed one Telugu movie, Anugraham, Benegal finds it difficult to speak Telugu. "I mean I understand Telugu very well but talking is a little tough."

He is in the city for the screening of his movie Charandas Chor, shortlisted for the children's world category. Surprised over the fact the movie was well accepted by children, he says, "It's a really old movie which I shot in 1975. I am really pleased that though it is a black and white movie, kids enjoyed it."

Talking about the hurdles being faced by children's films in India he says, "In our country, it is not very attractive to make children's films. There is no commercial market and so we need proper funding and more resources on an annual basis." He adds, "Like we have a great market for children's products, we should also create a similar market for children's films. And this can come only through social responsibility and interest of private bodies." Shyam Benegal believes films must have an intelligence as children are no less mature. "By the age of seven, a child is fully and mentally developed and after that whatever he learns is through his experience. We make a mistake by assuming that children don't understand sensitive subjects," he says.

It has been 52 years since he moved out of Hyderabad, but still finds it has retained its charm. "It's a moviecrazy city. Crowds in huge numbers watch films. There are so many good directors and producers." About the children's film festival, Benegal says, "I was very doubtful of Hyderabad as a venue when it was held here for the first time. But children are really excited and I hope they make this a permanent venue for the festival."

When asked about his personal achievement so far as a member of Rajya Sabha, he laughs and says, "To be honest, nothing. I am finishing my term this year and will start fulltime film making again."



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