Shyam Benegal’s restored classic ‘Manthan’ set for grand theatrical re-release in June

The landmark film “Manthan,” directed by the legendary Shyam Benegal and starring the late Smita Patil, is making a triumphant return to the silver screen. After its acclaimed screening at the Cannes Film Festival, the restored version of this 1976 classic is set to be released in theatres across India this June.

A Cinematic Revival

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The Film Heritage Foundation, in collaboration with the Gujarat Co-Operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd., PVR-INOX Ltd., and Cinépolis India, will re-release the restored version of “Manthan” in 50 cities and 100 cinemas across the country on June 1 and June 2. Cities like Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata will join others in celebrating the return of this cinematic gem.

Cannes Classics Segment Highlight

Showcased under the prestigious Cannes Classics segment, “Manthan” received a standing ovation, highlighting its timeless relevance and the excellence of its restoration. Esteemed personalities like Naseeruddin Shah, his wife Ratna Pathak Shah, Prateik Babbar (Smita Patil’s son), Dr. Verghese Kurien’s daughter Nirmala Kurien, and Amul MD Jayen Mehta graced the screening. Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, founder of the Film Heritage Foundation, also attended the event, underscoring the importance of this restoration project.

Director and Cast Reactions

Director Shyam Benegal expressed his joy over the film’s reception at Cannes and its impending re-release. “I am even more delighted that the restored film will be released in cinemas across the country. When ‘Manthan’ released in 1976, it was a great success as the farmers themselves came to see the film in droves, traveling in bullock carts from small towns and villages. 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 said in a statement.

Naseeruddin Shah, reflecting on the Cannes premiere, shared, “Watching the restored ‘Manthan’ was a very emotional experience for me. I was moved to tears by the standing ovation, which was not just for myself but for the film that has more than stood the test of time. I am delighted that the film is to be released in cinemas across India and I hope that people will seize the opportunity to watch a beautiful restoration of a historic film on the big screen. I will be going to the theatre myself to watch the film again.”

Bringing ‘Manthan’ to the Masses

Shivendra Singh Dungarpur emphasized the necessity of screening the restored film in theaters to reach a broad audience. “I am so pleased that audiences across the country in cities ranging from the big metros to smaller cities will have the opportunity to watch the beautifully restored film,” he said.

About ‘Manthan’

“Manthan” is a fictionalized portrayal of the revolutionary dairy cooperative movement led by Dr. Verghese Kurien, which transformed India into the world’s largest milk producer. Co-written by Shyam Benegal and celebrated playwright Vijay Tendulkar, this Gujarat-set film was the first crowd-funded Indian movie, backed by 500,000 farmers who contributed Rs 2 each. It won two National Film Awards in 1977 and was India’s official entry to the 1976 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. The cast includes notable names such as Girish Karnad, Dr. Mohan Agashe, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Anant Nag, and Abha Dhulia.