November 18, 2017
V. Shantaram’s 116th Birthday
In 1917, a young 16-year-old boy named V. Shantaram took up a job at a local tin-shed cinema for a sum of 5 rupees per month. Just four years later, he found himself debuting on the same silver screen as an actor in the silent film, Surekha Haran. By 1927, Shantaram had directed his first film, Netaji Palker, launching what would become a six-decade long career marked by technical creativity and an unwavering commitment to using art as an instrument for social change.
Today’s Doodle depicts three films produced and directed by Shantaram in the 1950s that won him numerous national and international awards. Amar Bhoopali (1951) told the true story of an ordinary cow herder with a natural gift for poetry, set in the days of the Maratha Confederacy. Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje (1955), a love story set against the background of classical Indian dance, was among the first films in India to use Technicolor. Do Aankhen Baara Haath (1957) portrayed the tale of a young jail warden who would reform dangerous prisoners into persons of virtue through hard work. Shantaram’s powerful approach to advocating humanism while still exposing injustice made this film a classic.
In honor of what would have been his 116th birthday, today’s Doodle celebrates V. Shantaram’s lasting impact on Indian cinema.
Doodle by Sukanto Debnath.
Discover more about V. Shantaram's life and works by visiting Google Arts & Culture.
Early drafts and concepts of the Doodle below: