Shyam Benegal’s “Manthan” Set for Theatrical Re-Release in India

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Shyam Benegal’s iconic film “Manthan,” featuring the late Smita Patil and Naseeruddin Shah, is making a triumphant return to theaters in India. The film, originally released in 1976, has been beautifully restored and recently showcased at the Cannes Film Festival 2024. This June, audiences across India will have the opportunity to experience this classic on the big screen once again.

The restored version of “Manthan” was screened under the Cannes Classics segment, receiving an enthusiastic response. This restoration project was spearheaded by the Film Heritage Foundation in collaboration with the Gujarat Co-Operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. Prominent attendees at the Cannes screening included Naseeruddin Shah, his wife Ratna Pathak Shah, Prateik Babbar (son of Smita Patil), Dr. Verghese Kurien’s daughter Nirmala Kurien, and Amul MD Jayen Mehta. Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, founder of the Film Heritage Foundation, also attended.

Nationwide Release

Following its success at Cannes, “Manthan” is set to be re-released in theaters across India on June 1 and June 2. Thanks to a collaboration with PVR-INOX Ltd. and Cinépolis India, the film will be screened in 50 cities and 100 cinemas. Cities include Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, and many more.


The Story Behind “Manthan”

“Manthan” is a fictionalized account of the revolutionary milk cooperative movement led by Dr. Verghese Kurien. This movement transformed India from a milk-deficient nation to one of the world’s largest milk producers. The film, co-written by Shyam Benegal and renowned playwright Vijay Tendulkar, captures the spirit and challenges of this extraordinary transformation. Notably, “Manthan” was the first Indian film to be entirely crowd-funded, with 500,000 farmers contributing ₹2 each to bring the project to life.

A Historic Achievement

When “Manthan” was first released in 1976, it was a tremendous success. Farmers from small towns and villages traveled in bullock carts to see the film, drawn by its compelling portrayal of their struggles and triumphs. The film’s impact was further solidified when it won two National Film Awards in 1977 and became India’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 1976 Academy Awards.

Shyam Benegal’s Reflections

Director Shyam Benegal expressed his delight at the film’s restoration and its positive reception at Cannes. “I am very pleased to hear about the fantastic response to the restoration version at the Cannes Film Festival,” he shared. “But I am even more delighted that the restored film will be released in cinemas across the country. Manthan will be the first restoration of one of my films that will have a theatrical release.”

He fondly recalled the original release of “Manthan,” when farmers flocked to cinemas to watch their story unfold on the screen. “I hope that 48 years later when the restored film comes back to the big screen this June, people across India will come to the cinema to watch the film,” he added.

A Legacy of Excellence

“Manthan” stands as a testament to the power of collective effort and the enduring spirit of India’s rural communities. Its upcoming re-release offers a new generation the chance to experience this landmark film in all its restored glory. As audiences prepare to revisit “Manthan,” they will not only witness a piece of cinematic history but also celebrate the remarkable journey of India’s dairy revolution.

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