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Happy Birthday Shyam Benegal: Best Movies of the Filmmaker That You Should Watch

Shyam Benegal is regarded as the pioneer of parallel cinema. He is considered one of the greatest filmmakers back in the 1970s. He received several accolades for his work in the entertainment industry and was also awarded the Dada Saheb Phalke Award, the highest award in the field of Indian cinema. Benegal’s father was a professional photographer originally from Karnataka. He also twice served as the chairman of Film Institute of India, which has now been renamed as Film and Television Institute of India.

As he turns a year older today, here are 5 films of the ace director which changed the game of Indian cinema:


Mammo was the first film of Shyam’s Muslim Trilogy. This film starring Farida Jalal, Surekha Sikri and Rajit Kapur was critically acclaimed as one of Shyam’s best works. It also won a National Award in 1995. Both the actresses won accolades for their work in the film.

Sardari Begum

Sardari Begum was a musical film directed by Shyam. Featuring Kirron Kher, Amrish Puri, Rajit Kapur and Rajeshwari Sachdev, the film focused on a complex portrait of family relationships and social mores in India.


Zubeidaa was the third film from Shyam’s Muslim trilogy. The film was based on the life of an actress who married a man from Jodhpur. The star cast of the film included Karisma Kapoor, Manoj Bajpayee and Rekha amongst others.


Mandi was a 1983 film directed by Shyam based on a classic Urdu short story Aanandi. The film narrated the story of a brothel, situated in the heart of the city. The film won a National Award in 1984 and starred an ensemble cast of actors Smita Patil, Shabana Azmi, and Neena Gupta amongst others.


Ankur was one of Shyam’s first feature films which made him the pioneer of a new movement of the film industry. Starring Shabana Azmi in the lead roles along with Anant Nag and Sadhu Meher, the film explored sexual orientation and feudal tyranny.

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