Filmmaker Shyam Benegal feels that the portrayal of women on screen is stereotypical. Speaking about the allegations of sexual assault and #MeToo stories coming out from the Bollywood industry, the screenwriter and director says gender inequality in the industry is a serious problem.
However, he feels that change is taking place slowly and women now are getting equal opportunities.
Known for his pioneering work in new cinema which shaped the Indian film industry, Benegal is the recipient of the award for Excellence in Cinema at The Mumbai Film Festival.
Being one of the founding members of The Mumbai Academy of Moving Images (MAMI), he jokingly says he is embarrassed as he feels like he is giving himself an award and it’s the Academy’s way of telling him to say goodbye.
Speaking about MAMI, he says, “I am proud of what it is today and am very happy that it is being taken care of by some very able ladies who continue to make it better.”
When asked about his work over the last 45 years, he says, “Filmmaking is not just a profession; it is something one can never retire from. There is a lot more to do in this field and a lot more I can learn from all of it. I feel an award like this must not exist as
filmmaking is something that never stops.”
Benegal relishes every part of making a film. Everything is exciting and every day has something new and it’s why he continues in the industry.
He says he really enjoyed making movies that were related to the Indian Rebellion of 1857, as it is his favourite part in history which paved a way to modern India.
When asked if he’s ever visited Bengaluru, he says he always wanted to, but never got a chance. “The city has expanded and has become so crowded. I am fascinated by the traditional part of the city and would love to explore it some more.”
While he admits he has very little knowledge about the Kannada film industry, it’s something he wishes to look into some day.
The movies he’s created over the years have truly shaped the way we look at Indian cinema. His contributions to the field have been immense and the number of awards he has received stand as proof of it. The different topics he talks about, from farmers in ‘Manthan’ to the Muslim driver in ‘Well Done Abba,’ have given people inspiration to make movies that interest them. Benegal defines what dynamic thought is with his storylines and plots that are real and deep.