The Google doodle today celebrates the 116th birth anniversary of director, actor and producer, V Shantaram. He is known to be a pioneer in Indian cinema with contributions in creating technology and inventing new styles of filmmaking. The doodle is made by Hungary-based illustrator Sukanto Debnath, who is an alumnus of Vishwa Bharti University, Shantiniketan. It features Shantaram’s iconic movies - Amar Bhoopali (1951), Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje (1955), and Do Aankhen Baara Haath (1957).
Shantaram was a legendary filmmaker who produced 92 films, directed 55 films and acted in 25 films. He made his debut in the silent-movie era and rose to prominence in the talkies-era. He began his career as a theatre artist after joining the Maharashtra Film Company at the age of 18. Shantaram directed a couple of films, including the highly successful Gopalkrishna in 1929, before starting to act.
In the early 1930s, as sound in movies was just introduced, the filmmaker went on to make the first bilingual film in the history of Indian cinema, Ayodhyecha Raja (Marathi) or Ayodhya Ka Raja (Hindi) which translates to 'The King of Ayodhya'. Shataram was famous for making movies based of social issues and injustice. However, most of the initial movies that he made were based on either religious, historical or mythological subjects. These were movies such as Gopal Krishna, Udaykal, Chandrasena, Maya Machhindra, Sinhgad, Ayodhya Cha Raja, Sairandhri.
Though, Shataram was highly praised for his work, it seems that if he was to make these movies in today’s time, he wouldn’t have been so lucky.
Shataram attempted to make the first colour movie in India but failed to release it as it didn’t meet the desired result. Among other accolades, he has won the Silver Bear for Extraordinary Prize of the Jury, at the Berlin Film Festival in 1958 for Do Aankhen Barah Haath (1957), the Grand Prix for the Best Sound Recording awarded by the Centre National de la Cinematographic, Paris at the Cannes Film Festival in 1952 for Amar Bhoopali. Shantaram was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1986.Shantaram died on 30 October 1990 in Mumbai. The V. Shantaram Award was constituted by Central Government and Maharashtra State Government in his honour.