He directed his first film, "Netaji Palkar" in 1927, and in 1929, founded the Prabhat Film Company along with V.G. Damle, K.R. Dhaiber, S. Fatelal and S.B. Kulkarni, which made Ayodhyecha Raja the first Marathi language film in 1932 under his direction. He left Prabhat in 1942 and formed "Rajkamal Kala Mandir" in Mumbai. In time 'Rajkamal' became one of most sophisticated studios of the country.
He was praised by Charlie Chaplin for his Marathi film Manoos (English: Man). Charlie Chaplin reportedly liked the film very much.
He was awarded the Indian film industry's highest award, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, in 1985 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1992.
V. Shantaram was born on 18 November 1901, in a reputed Jain family in the erstwhile princely state of Kolhapur in present day Maharashtra. He was a Jain and born to a reputed Jain family of Kolhapur. During his lifetime he was also honoured with Jain Samaj Ratna award given to outstanding Jains.
V. Shantaram started his film career doing odd jobs in Maharashtra Film Co. owned by Baburao Painter at Kolhapur, growing up to debut as an actor in the silent film, Surekha Haran in 1921.
V. Shantaram had an illustrious career as a filmmaker for almost six decades, starting as an actor in the silent era films and later transitioning into a film director of Hindi and Marathi cinema. He was one of the early filmmakers to realize the efficacy of the film medium as an instrument of social change and used it successfully to advocate humanism on one hand and expose bigotry and injustice on the other. He is the founder of Rajkamal Studios.
The highest accolade of the Indian film industry, for lifetime achievement, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, was conferred on him in 1985. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan award in 1992
His autobiography titled, Shantaram was published in Hindi and Marathi.
V. Shantaram died on 30 October 1990 in Mumbai. The 'V. Shantaram Award' was consitituted by Central Government and Maharashtra State Government, and the V. Shantaram Motion Picture Scientific Research and Cultural Foundation, established in 1993, shortly after his death, and offers various awards to film makers, the award is presented on 18 November each year being Shantaram's birth anniversary.
He married thrice; His first marriage was with Vimla, his second marriage was to the actress Jayashree, with whom he had three children: youngest one is Tejasri the other one is the actress Rajshree whom he launched in the film Geet Gaya Patharon Ne , and a son, Kiran Kumar, sometime sheriff of Mumbai and Marathi film director.
His third wife was actress, Sandhya who was his co-star in Do Aankhen Barah Haath as well the heroine of his films like Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje and Navrang. His other four children are Prabhat Kumar, Sarojini, Charushila and Madhura Pandit, who is married to classical singer, Pandit Jasraj and have a daughter actress, Durga Jasraj.
1957: Filmfare Best Director Award: Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje
1958: National Film Award for Best Film: Do Aankhen Barah Haath
1958: Berlin International Film Festival, OCIC Award: Do Aankhen Barah Haath 1958: Berlin International Film Festival, Silver Bear (Special Prize): Do Aankhen Barah Haath
1959: Golden Globe Awards, Samuel Goldwyn Award: Do Aankhen Barah Haath 1985: Dadasaheb Phalke Award
1992: Padma Vibhushan
1951: Cannes Film Festival, Grand Prize: Amar Bhoopali (The Immortal Song)
1958: Berlin International Film Festival, Silver Bear: Do Aankhen Barah Haath
He also introduced film actor Jeetendra in Hindi cinema with the film Geet Gaaya Patharonay. He was fondly called Annasaheb.
Shantaram, Kiran & Narwekar, Sanjit; V Shantaram: The Legacy of the Royal Lotus, 2003, Rupa & Co., ISBN 8129102188.
Banerjee, Shampa; Profiles, five film-makers from India: V. Shantaram, Raj Kapoor, Mrinal Sen, Guru Dutt, Ritwik Ghatak Directorate of Film Festivals, National Film Development Corp, 1985. ISBN 8120100077.
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