Shantaram in 1938
Shantaram Rajaram Vankudre
18 November 1901
|Died||30 October 1990 (aged 88)|
Bombay, Maharashtra, India
|Nationality||British Indian (1901–1947)|
(m. 1941; div. 1956)
|Awards||Best Director |
1957 Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje
1958 Do Aankhen Barah Haath
Dadasaheb Phalke Award
Shantaram Rajaram Vankudre (18 November 1901 – 30 October 1990), referred to as V. Shantaram or Shantaram Bapu, was an Indian filmmaker, film producer, and actor known for his work in Hindi and Marathi films. He is most known for films such as Dr. Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani (1946), Amar Bhoopali (1951), Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje (1955), Do Aankhen Barah Haath (1957), Navrang (1959), Duniya Na Mane (1937), Pinjara (1972), Chani, Iye Marathiche Nagari and Zunj.
Shantaram, fondly known as Annasaheb, had an illustrious career as a filmmaker for almost seven decades. 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. V. Shantaram had a very keen interest in music. It is said that he "ghost wrote" music for many of his music directors, and took a very active part in the creation of music. Some of his songs had to rehearsed several times before they were approved by V. Shantaram.  He Was Also Praised By Charlie Chaplin for his Marathi film Manoos. Chaplin reportedly liked the film to a great extent.
He directed his first film Netaji Palkar, in 1927. In 1929, he founded the Prabhat Film Company along with Vishnupant 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 co. in 1942 to form "Rajkamal Kalamandir" in Mumbai. In time, "Rajkamal" became one of the most sophisticated studios of the country.
Shantaram introduced his daughter Rajshree (his daughter by Jayashree) and Jeetendra in the 1964 film Geet Gaya Patharon Ne. That was the debut film for both of them. He also introduced his second wife Sandhya's niece Ranjana Deshmukh into the Marathi film industry through Chandanachi Choli Ang Ang Jaali, directed by his son Kiran Shantaram in 1975. Ranjana dominated the Marathi silver screen in the 70s and 80s.
The V. Shantaram Award was constituted by Central Government and Maharashtra State Government. The V. Shantaram Motion Picture Scientific Research and Cultural Foundation, established in 1993, offers various awards to film-makers. The award is presented annually on 18 November. A postage stamp dedicated to Shantaram was released by India Post on 17 November 2001.
Shantaram was born in 1901 at Kolhapur to a Marathi family with a Jain Kasar father and Hindu mother. He was married multiple times. Until January 1957, it was perfectly legal (and in keeping with ancient custom) for Hindu men to have more than one wife at a time, and it was typical for the wives to live harmoniously together in the same household. He was divorced once, it was one of the first Hindu divorces in India.
In 1921, aged 20, he married 12-year-old Vimalabai, a girl of his own community and similar background, in a match arranged by their families in the usual Indian manner. Their marriage lasted their entire lives and its relationships of harmony and mutual support survived even his subsequent two marriages, which were concurrent with his first. Vimalabai bore four children, being son Prabhat Kumar (after whom Shantaram named his movie company) and daughters Saroj, Madhura and Charusheela. Shantaram's second daughter Madhura is the wife of Pandit Jasraj and mother of music director Shaarang Dev Pandit and of TV personality Durga Jasraj. Shantaram's third daughter, Charusheela, is the mother of Hindi and Marathi actor Sushant Ray a.k.a. Siddharth Ray.
On 22 October 1941, Shantaram (aged 40) married the actress Jayashree (née Kamulkar), with whom he had fallen in love while they worked together in several films, including Shakuntala (1942) which ran for 104 weeks in Mumbai. Jayashree became Shantaram's second wife, and was received with traditional ceremonies by his first wife Vimalabai. Jayashree bore Shantaram three children – one son, the Marathi film director and producer Kiran Shantaram, and two daughters, Rajshree (the actress) and Tejashree. Shantaram's seven children grew up playing and bonding with each other. The two wives also had a cordial relationship and often interacted with each other, although they maintained separate houses. Vimalabai was strongly bonded with Shantaram's extended family; she would be at her husband's side at all religious and family finctions that they attended, and she would be hostess whenever they themselves hosted such functions. On the other hand, Jayashree would accompany Shantaram to all events and functions connected with the film industry and the film profession and at any parties he hosted for the film fraternity.
Sandhya enters his life
In the early 1950s, Shantaram grew close to another of his leading ladies, the actress Sandhya (née Vijaya Deshmukh), who was his co-star in many films like Do Aankhen Barah Haath, Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje, Navrang, Jal Bin Machhli Nritya Bin Bijli and Sehra. Vimalabai did not have much contact with Shantaram's professional associates and took Sandhya in her stride, but the case was different with Jayashree, who came to regard Sandhya as an ambitious gold-digger who was using the middle-aged Shantaram for her own purposes, to become a successful actress at his expense and riding on his shoulders. Things came to a head during the making of Do Aankhen Barah Haath, a film which Shantaram was producing and which featured him and Sandhya in the main roles. Shantaram ran short of money while making the film, and asked his wives to give him their jewellery so that he could mortgage the same and raise funds to get over the cash crunch. The jewellery would be redeemed and returned to the ladies after the movie was completed, he said. Vimalabai agreed without fuss and handed over her jewellery, but Jayashree did not, apparently because she suspected that the jewellery would end up in Sandhya's possession. This led to a misunderstanding between the couple.
Rift with Jayashree and divorce
Later, Jayashree realized that money was indeed the problem and that in fact, even Sandhya had parted with her jewels in order to help Shantaram. When she came to know this, Jayashree felt bad that she was the only person to have retained her jewellery. On some minor occasion (a birthday), she tried to make amends by gifting some of her jewellery to Sandhya, so that the latter could have some jewels at least. However, Sandhya declined the gift by saying that she had lately stopped wearing jewellery. Jayashree took offence at the snub and the rift between the ladies grew. It became clear that they would not be able to live harmoniously together the way Vimalabai and Jayashree were living. It also became clear that there existed a widening rift between Jayashree and Shantaram also.
Finally, Shantaram and Jayashree were divorced on 13 November 1956. This was one of the earliest divorces to be granted in India, because it happened only weeks after parliament passed Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 making it possible for Hindus to get a divorce; previous to this, divorce had been literally impossible for Hindus. According to Shantaram's daughter by Vimalabai, neither Shantaram not Jayashree could ever forget each other in later life and both of them deeply regretted that the parting of ways.
Hardly a month after the divorce, on 22 December 1956, Shantaram married Sandhya. This marriage was also legally valid because the law which forbade bigamy for Hindu men would come into effect only on 1 January 1957; it was therefore one of the last bigamous marriages to be conducted among Hindus in India. Sandhya had met Vimalabai many times before her wedding, and when the wedding was being finalized, she told Vimalabai that she would only marry Shantaram if Vimalabai not only gave her willing consent but also permitted her to stay in the same house with her. Touched by Sandhya's humility, goodness and traditional values, Vimalabai wholeheartedly gave her consent. She performed the traditional ceremonies and received her new co-wife into her household. The two ladies lived together harmoniously in the same house not just during Shantaram's lifetime but even after his death. Vimalabai and Sandhya enjoyed a close and cordial relationship with each other, which was enhanced because of the large age difference between them, because of their common values of pativratha sanskar, and also because it was known from the beginning that Sandhya would never bear children. This was because Shantaram had undergone an operation after the birth of Jayashree's third child, which left him incapable of begetting further progeny. Sandhya had been informed of this fact and had accepted it knowingly, which earned her great respect in her new home and put to rest all the speculation about her being a gold-digger. She would often say in Marathi “Hey sagle majhe mula aahet (all these are my kids)" indicating Shantaram's seven children. Sandhya treated Vimalabai with great respect at all times, and Vimalabai looked upon Sandhya with deep affection. In the professional field, Sandhya worked exclusively with her husband and refused all film offers made by other film-makers. She starred in some of Shantaram's biggest hits like Do Aankhen Barah Haath, Navrang, Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje and Pinjra.
Shantaram died on 30 October 1990 in Mumbai. He was survived by all three of his wives. Even his second wife Jayashree, who was divorced from him, attended his funeral rites, participated in the rituals, and took to wearing the garb of a widow thereafter, thus indicating that the piece of legal paper which constituted their divorce was only a paper. Vimalabai and Sandhya continued to reside together in one house along with Vimalabai's son Prabhat and his wife and children. Vimalabai died in 1996 after being bedridden for four years. Sandhya lives today in the care and company of Vimalabai's children, especially of Prabhat and his family.
- "Surekha Haran" (1921)
- Sinhagad (1923)
- Savkari Pash (1925)
- Stri (1961)
- Parchhain (1952)
- Do Ankhen Barah Haath (1957)
- Banwasi (1948)
- Sehra (1963)
- Geet Gaya Patharon Ne (1964)
- Vanvaas (1967)
- Ladki Sahyadri Ki (1966)
- Jal Bin Machhli Nritya Bin Bijli (1971)
- Raja Rani Ko Chahiye Pasina (1978)
- Jhanjhaar (1987)
- Netaji Palkar (1927)
- Gopal Krishna (1929)
- Udaykal (1930)
- Rani Saheba (1930)
- Khooni Khanjar (1930)
- Chandrasena (1931)
- Maya Machindra (1932)
- Agnikankan (1932)
- Ayodhyecha Raja (1932)
- Sinhagad (1933)
- Sairandhri (1933)
- Amrit Manthan (1934)
- Dharmatma (1935)
- Chandrasena (1935)
- Amar Jyoti (1936)
- Duniya Na Mane (1937)
- Kunku (1937)
- Manoos (1939)
- Aadmi (1939)
- Padosi (1941)
- Shakuntala (1943)
- Bhagawan Das Patel (1997)
- Dr. Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani (1946)
- Lokshahir Ram Joshi (1947)
- Apna Desh (1949)
- Dahej (1950)
- Amar Bhoopali (1951)
- Teen Batti Char Raasta (1953)
- Surang (1953)
- Subah Ka Tara (1954)
- Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje (1955)
- Do Aankhen Barah Haath (1957)
- Navrang (1959)
- Stree (1961)
- Sehra (1963)
- Geet Gaya Patharon Ne (1964)
- Ladki Sahyadri Ki (1966)
- Boond Jo Ban Gayee Moti (1967)
- Jal Bin Machhli Nritya Bin Bijli (1971)
- Pinjra (1973)
- Jhanjhaar (1987)
Awards and recognition
- 2017 – on 18 November 2017, Google honored Shantaram on his 116th Birthday with a Google Doodle on their Indian front page.
- 1952 – Amar Bhoopali (The Immortal Song) competed at the 1952 Cannes Film Festival.
- 1955 – All India Certificate of Merit for Best Feature Film – Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje
- 1955 – President's Silver Medal for Best Feature Film in Hindi – Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje
- 1957 – President's Gold Medal for the All India Best Feature Film – Do Aankhen Barah Haath
- 1957 – President's Silver Medal for Best Feature Film in Hindi – Do Aankhen Barah Haath
- 1957 – Filmfare Award for Best Director – Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje
- 1958 – Berlin International Film Festival, OCIC Award: Do Aankhen Barah Haath
- 1958 – Berlin International Film Festival, Silver Bear (Special Prize): Do Aankhen Barah Haath
- 1985 – Dadasaheb Phalke Award
- 1992 – Padma Vibhushan (posthumous)
- Dadasaheb Phalke Award filmography. ultraindia.com Archived 7 December 2009 at the Wayback Machine
- Tilak, Shrinivas (2006). Understanding Karma: In Light of Paul Ricoeur's Philosophical Anthropology and Hemeneutics. International Centre for Cultural Studies. p. 306. ISBN 978-81-87420-20-0. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
- Biography – The V. Shantaram Centennial Collection Archived 2 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine
- Remembering the Pioneer screenindia. Archived 23 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine
- Narwekar, Kiran Shantaram with Sanjit (2003). V. Shantaram, the legacy of the Royal Lotus. New Delhi: Rupa & Co. ISBN 978-81-291-0218-8.
- Charlie Chaplin saluted V. Shantaram. In.movies.yahoo.com (18 November 2013). Retrieved on 2018-11-20.
- Lal, S. (1 January 2008). 50 Magnificent Indians Of The 20Th Century. Jaico Publishing House. pp. 274–. ISBN 978-81-7992-698-7. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
- A navrang of Shantaram's films – Retrospective The Hindu, 2 May 2002. Archived 1 September 2010 at the Wayback Machine
- Founders Prabhat Film Company Archived 3 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine
- Well ahead of his times The Hindu, 30 November 2001. Archived 1 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine
- 17th Awardee Dada Saheb Phalke Awards, List of Awardees. Archived 25 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- Official List of Awardees Padma Vibhushan. Archived 15 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine
- "50 years of a Shantaram classic". Times of India. 28 September 2006. Archived from the original on 11 August 2009. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
- Lyden, John (2009). The Routledge Companion to Religion and Film. Taylor & Francis. pp. 148–. ISBN 978-0-415-44853-6.
- Jai ho! Jasraj. The Hindu. 8 October 2007.
- Gavankar, Nilu N. (26 July 2011). The Desai Trio and the Movie Industry of India. AuthorHouse. p. 139. ISBN 978-1-4685-9981-7. Retrieved 5 May 2013.
- Mishra, Ambarish (28 September 2006). "50 years of a Shantaram classic". The Times of India. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- My father married the women he loved, Filmfare, October 29, 2015
- Dedicated to her art: The journey of Sandhya Shantaram, Cinestaan, 26 Feb 2018
- Biography American Film Institute.
- नयनरम्य ठिकाणी आहे व्ही. शांताराम यांचे पन्हाळ्यातील घर, आता मुलीने बदलले रिसॉर्टमध्ये, Divya Marathi, 2018
- "Aadmi (1939) – Movie Review, Story, Trailers, Videos, Photos, Wallpapers, Songs, Trivia, Movie Tickets". Retrieved 27 June 2014.
- "IMDB Proile films". IMDB. Archived from the original on 4 September 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
- "V. Shantaram's 116th Birthday". www.google.com. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
- V. Shantaram Google Doodle | Biography of V. Shantaram. YouTube (17 November 2017). Retrieved on 2018-11-20.
- "Awards for Amar Bhoopali (1951)". Internet Movie Database. Archived from the original on 4 September 2013. Retrieved 20 February 2009.
- "3rd National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
- "5th National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 November 2013. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
- Awards for Do Aankhen Barah Haath Internet Movie Database. Archived 4 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine
- "Berlin Film Festival: Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Archived from the original on 15 October 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
- Shantaram, Kiran & Narwekar, Sanjit; V Shantaram: The Legacy of the Royal Lotus, 2003, Rupa & Co., ISBN 978-81-291-0218-8.
- 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.
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