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MIFF 2020: Documentary filmmaker S Krishnaswamy honoured with a Lifetime Achievement award

The veteran filmmaker was presented the Dr V Shantaram Lifetime Achievement award for his 'lifelong invaluable contribution to non-fiction filmmaking'.

Photo: Press Information Bureau, Mumbai

Our Correspondent

The Dr V Shantaram Lifetime Achievement award at the 16th edition of the Mumbai International Film Festival for Documentary, Shorts & Animation Films (MIFF) 2020 has been awarded to veteran documentary filmmaker Dr S Krishnaswamy for his 'lifelong invaluable contribution to non-fiction filmmaking'.

The award was presented by the chief guest at the opening ceremony, Union minister of state for environment, forests and climate change Babul Supriyo, and the guest of honour, Maharashtra minister for cultural affairs and medical education Amit Vilasrao Deshmukh. Filmmaker Kiran Shantaram, the son of the late V Shantaram, was also present. 

One of India’s most senior and active filmmakers who has made socially relevant documentaries, Dr Krishnaswamy has more than 200 non-fiction films to his credit, along with a dozen television serials. His 18-episode television serial, Indian Imprints, on the impact of ancient India on Southeast Asia, telecast on Doordarshan in 2009, had received good response.

Dr Krishnaswamy's four-hour-long film tracing the 5,000 years of art, culture, history and heritage of India on celluloid was distributed by Warner Brothers in 1976 and received global attention.

His documentaries have covered a wide range of subjects like industry, agriculture, electoral reforms and biographies of multifarious personalities.

Receiving the award, Dr S Krishnaswamy said, "It is very difficult for the voice to come up when you are on cloud nine. It is a great privilege to receive this award from the documentary filmmaking fraternity and from the Films Division."

He thanked the two ministers for the pleasure of receiving the award from them and said, "I am speaking from my heart. I made a four-hour film on Indian history after working on it for almost 15 years, with no financial backing. It traces the history of India from more than 5,000 years ago to 1976. I titled the film From Indus Valley To Indira Gandhi. I could not find anyone to distribute the film, until Warner Brothers came to my rescue, transforming it from complete failure to complete success."

The filmmaker said he had never agreed to make a single film in which he did not believe. "Over time, I have developed a philosophy where one remembers what one plans and wants to achieve," he said, adding that it was a privilege to have Shantaram’s son at the event.

Dr Krishnaswamy has been honoured in 2009 with the Padma Shri by the government of India and has received a Lifetime Achievement award from the US International Film & Video Festival, Los Angeles. 

The prestigious Dr V Shantaram Lifetime Achievement award is presented in every edition of MIFF to a filmmaker who has made a seminal contribution to documentary films and the documentary movement in India. It carries a cash award of Rs10 lakh, a trophy and a citation. Shyam Benegal, Vijaya Mulay, and Anand Patwardhan are some of those to have been bestowed with the award in the past.

The award has been instituted in memory of the legendary filmmaker Shantaram who was closely associated with the Films Division as honorary chief producer during the 1950s.

Related topics

Mumbai International Film Festival