Documentaries

Apart from feature films, Shyam Benagal has also made a number of documentaries on various subjects ranging from culture, anthropology and problems of industrialization, to music and so on.

To read the synopsis of each documentary you may click on the respective links given below.

Previous next
Mamallapuram, A Riddle In The Sands (1997)

27 min - Colour

Synopsis:

A Riddle in the sands
Directed and narrated by Shyam Benegal.

Along the sandy coastline, some forty miles south of Madras, is a large group of deserted and unfinisted monuments at the site of Mamallapuram. These granite strutures are of four different types. There are artificial caves, monoliths or shrines hewn out of single boulders, sculptures cliffs, and structural temples. The tall slender sculptures are exquisite in their modelling. But the site remains a mystery in more ways than one.

Vijayanagara, Where Kings & Gods Meet (1997)

27 min - Colour

Synopsis:

Where Kings and Gods meet. Directed and narrated by Shyam Benegal. The splendor of the city of Hampi, the fifteenth - century capital of the Hindu Vijayanagara kingdom, was admired by many foreign travellers to southern India. Venetion Nicolo Conti described it as "so large that ni man has seen its like upon the earth"; Persian ambassador Abdur Razzak wrote that it was "such that the pupil of the eye has never seen a place like it".

Konark, The Chariot Of The Sun (1997)

27 min - Colour

Synopsis:

Chariot of the Sun.Directed and Narrated by Shyam Benegal. Sun worship was prevalent in India long before any sun temples actually existed, with sunrise and sunset being times when sun was worshiped outdoors. Since the sun was liberal with his darshan, as a daily miraculous phenemenon, it is intriguing that temples to the sun god, Surya, should have been constructed. Why take indoors into a darkened shrine to that most brilliant of deities? Was it because Surya's brilliance was too much for human eyes? His images depict him wearing a long cloak and boots;

Satyajit Ray (1985)

131 min - Colour

Synopsis:

Ray's enormous body of work shows him to be an extraordinary humanist; probably why he was able to communicate universally. Indeed, in most parts of the world, his films continue to be recognised as the most representative of Indian films.

Cast:

Victor Banerjee
Smita Patil
Om Puri
Satyajit Ray

Awards
  • Invited to the Pesaro Film Festival 1985.
  • Invited to New York for “Festivals of India” 1985.
  • Invited to France for “Festivals of India” 1985.
  • Best Biographical Documentary award at the National Awards 1985.
Nehru (1984)

180 min - Colour

Synopsis:

Nehru is a three hour biographical documentary film on the life of Jawaharlal Nehru tracing his life based on photographs and rare film footage. It is a first person biography relying for its text, entirely on his writings and speeches, manucripts & documents. A comprehensive film on India's first Prime Minister. The film traces the evolution of nehru from his birth through his life. His emergence as a staunch, but not necessarily an unrequestioning disciple of Gandhi; the intensifying process of his nationalism and the widening perspectives of his world view;

Awards
  • Invited to the London Film Festival 1984.
  • Best Historical Reconstruction award at the National Awards 1984.
  • State Prize of the U.S.S.R 1985.
Sanchi, Masterpiece of The People (1977)

27 min - Colour

Synopsis:

Monument of the people directed and narrated by Shyam Benegal. (A more detailed note to provide some idea of the approach) Monument of the people tells one how deeply pained Prince Siddharth was by the suffering around him during the 5th century BC. He rejected the Hindu faith and formulated a new path of ethical living as an alternative known henceforth as 'Buddha' or the Enlightened One. In the fifth century BC, Prince Siddharth, pained by the sufferings around him, rejected the Hindu faith and formulated a new path of ethical living as an alternative to Vedic practices.