Shyam Benegal's 'Manthan', based on pioneering milk cooperative movement, to be showcased at Cannes today

Shyam Benegal's 'Manthan', based on pioneering milk cooperative movement, to be showcased at Cannes today

Cannes, France: The 77th edition of the ongoing Cannes Film Festival will witness a significant milestone for Indian cinema on a global stage as Shyam Benegal's classic 'Manthan' will be screened during a prestigious gala on Friday at Salle Bunuel.

'Mathan', which starred late actress Smita Patil, is the only Indian film to be selected under the Cannes Classic section of the festival this year.

The film, based on the pioneering milk cooperative movement of Dr Verghese Kurien -- the father of the White Revolution in India, was produced by five lakh dairy farmers of the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), which markets its products under the Amul brand.

The Gujarat-set movie was the first crowd-funded Indian film which was entirely crowdfunded by 500,000 farmers who donated Rs 2 each. Kurien, along with Vijay Tendulkar, had penned down the script for the movie.

The film also featured Naseeruddin Shah, Girish Karnad, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Mohan Agashe, Anant Nag, and Amrish Puri among others.

'Manthan' won two National Film Awards in 1977: for Best Feature Film in Hindi and for best screenplay for Tendulkar. It was also India's official entry to the 1976 Academy Awards in the best foreign language film category.

The premiere of the restored version of the film at Cannes will be attended by Naseeruddin Shah, the family of the late Smita Patil, the producers of the film and Film Heritage Foundation's Shivendra Singh Dungarpur.

About the film's screening at the Cannes, Shyam Benegal earlier said, "I was absolutely delighted when Shivendra told me that Film Heritage Foundation was going to restore "Manthan" in collaboration with the Gujarat Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. Manthan is a film that is very close to my heart as it was funded by 500,000 farmers and was instrumental in the growth of an extraordinary cooperative movement that was aimed at breaking the shackles of economic inequality and caste discrimination whilst empowering the farmers."

He added, "It will remind the world of the power of cinema as a vehicle of change and also the legacy of the great Verghese Kurien, the Father of the White Revolution. Govind Nihalani and I have been following the progress of the restoration closely and I am amazed by the meticulous approach to the restoration. It is wonderful to see the film come back to life almost like we made it yesterday. Film Heritage Foundation has been doing remarkable work in film restoration. Not only are they beautifully restoring films from every region of India, but bringing them back to the public at festivals and screenings around the world in a way that showcases our unique film heritage to contemporary global audiences."

Cannes Film Festival 2024 opened on May 14, and will go on till May 25.