The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Who is the author of a movie' The screenwriter' The actors' The producer' The director' French critics in the Fifties were in no doubt. They looked at the commercial products of the Hollywood studios and they made a ranking list of directors who qualified for auteur status. An auteur was a director who could claim to be the author of ‘his’ films by creating a personal vision of the world. Going by this formula and applying it to our own Bollywood cinema industry, we can safely categorise a handful of auteur directors who have breezed past geographical barriers of time and space and established themselves as world class directors. Shyam Benegal is definitely one of them. An entire generation has thrived on movies made by Benegal. His unusual choice of topics and their marvellous treatment, his experimentation with actors, photographic angles and other details have only enriched and expanded his cinematic horizon. Sangeeta Datta is a UK-based filmmaker-cum-singer-cum-author. She is also a film historian, lecturer and critic who recently assisted Rituporno Ghosh during his making of Chokher Bali, besides making films like The Way I See It. She is also an avid Benegal fan and pays her tribute to her idol in a biography, World Directors: Shyam Benegal, published by British Film Institute Publication that will be released today. The launch will be followed by a tete-a-tete between the author and Aparna Sen, discussing about Benegal’s works and his wide acceptance in the West. Sen, incidentally, was Benegal’s first choice as the heroine of Ankur. When she turned it down, Shabana Azmi stepped in. Excerpts from the book will be read by film actress Rituparna Sengupta, who stars in Datta’s next project Mango Blossoms.

When: Today at 7 pm

Where: British Council auditorium

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