Filmmaker Dev Benegal was #BornOnThisDay. Internationally acclaimed for his debut feature landmark comedy, National Award winning English August, he has also made noted films Split Wide Open and Road, Movie.
Dev Benegal is a New York based filmmaker. He is considered the pioneer of the next generation of Indian cinema with his first feature film English, August (1994) acknowledged as a landmark film in contemporary Indian cinema. It won the countries highest award in cinema- The National Award for Best Feature Film (English).
English, August was the first Indian film to be acquired for distribution by the 20th Century Fox. The film broke the stranglehold of Bollywood cinema and discovered a new young audience in India with its box office success.
It also won Silver Montgolfiere (Silver Grand Prix) at the 16th Festival des 3 Continents, Nantes France, 1994 the Gilberto Martinez Solares prize for the Best First Film 16th Festival des 3 Continents, Nantes France, 1994 and the Special Jury Award at the 12th International Festival, Torino, Italy, 1994.
English, August was amongst others an Official Selection at the 26th Annual New Directors New Films series presented by Museum of Modern Art and Film Society of Lincoln Center, New York, 1997.
English, August became the first Indian independent film to break the stranglehold of mainstream Indian Bollywood cinema when it was acquired by 20thCentury Fox and became a theatrical success in the country. This has set of a trend of movies, which are part of the next generation of Indian cinema.
Benegal has a long history in Indian cinema. He has apprenticed with India’s legendary Animation guru- Ram Mohan after which he has worked with the arthouse filmmaker Shyam Benegal on his feature films Kalyug (1981) Arohan (1983) and Mandi (1983). He was closely involved in the research, making and editing of the definitive documentary on Satyajit Ray- Satyajit Ray, Filmmaker (1984).
In addition to his feature films Dev Benegal has directed award winning short films which have played at leading International Film Festivals. Among them ‘Shabana!’ (2003), on Indian film star Shabana Azmi, and ‘Abhivardhan: Building for a New Life’ (1992) a film on community efforts after the Tehri Garwal earthquake and a series of short films, ‘Kalpavriksha: The Tree of Life’ (1988), ‘Kanakambaram: Cloth: of Gold’ (1987), ‘Anantarupam: The Infinite Forms’ (1987).