Cannes Film Festival screens Shyam Benegal’s restored version of Manthan to five-minute standing ovation | Bollywood

Last night, the Cannes Film Festival was a testament to the legacy of Indian cinema as the Film Heritage Foundation, led by the acclaimed filmmaker and preserver Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, showcased the premiere of the rejuvenated ‘Manthan’ (1976) by Shyam Benegal. The iconic film received an outstanding reception in the Cannes Classics Section, where it was greeted with a five-minute standing ovation. (In other news: Naseeruddin Shah, Ratna Pathak Shah, and Prateik Patil Babbar grace the ‘Manthan’ screening at Cannes.)

Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, Naseeruddin Shah, and Prateik Babbar at the Cannes red carpet.(REUTERS)

The invigorated rendition of ‘Manthan’ will be released for Indian audiences in cinemas coinciding with World Milk Day on June 1, 2024.

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Shivendra Singh Dungarpur led the ‘Manthan’ delegation with prominent figures including Naseeruddin Shah, Ratna Pathak Shah, Prateik Babbar, Nirmala Kurien, Dr. Anita Patil Deshmukh and Manya Patil Seth, and film producer Dr. Jayen Mehta in attendance on the celebrated red carpet.

Expressing his elation, Dungarpur commented, “Gracing the red carpet for the third year in succession and presenting yet another restored masterpiece at Cannes was a remarkable experience.”

The film, which dramatizes the genesis of India’s monumental dairy cooperative movement that catapulted the nation to become the top milk producer globally, owes inspiration to Dr. Verghese Kurien, revered as the ‘Father of the White Revolution’. Distinctively, ‘Manthan’, honored with a national award and starring the likes of the late Girish Karnad, Naseeruddin Shah, and the late Smita Patil, also earned the distinction of being India’s first crowdfunded cinema project, with half a million dairy farmers each contributing Rs. 2 towards its production.

The Film Heritage Foundation in collaboration with Prasad Corporation Pvt. Ltd. at their Chennai Post – Studios, and L’Immagine Ritrovata Laboratory, with the support of the Gujarat Co-Operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. (Amul), cinematographer Govind Nihalani, and director Shyam Benegal, painstakingly restored ‘Manthan’.

The restoration drew upon the highest quality sources available: the 35 mm original camera negatives stored at the NFDC-National Film Archive of India and the 35 mm prints conserved by the Film Heritage Foundation. The original negatives showed signs of age, with color fading, mould, and flicker, while the print exhibited scratches and discoloration.

The sound negative had suffered extensive damage, rendering it unusable, necessitating the digitization of sound from the release print. Careful restoration of the film elements was carried out by conservators from the Film Heritage Foundation, and the scanning process was conducted at Prasad Lab in Chennai. The additional steps of scanning and digital cleaning were performed under the careful watch of L’Immagine Ritrovata in Bologna, and the final color grading, sound restoration, and mastering were completed at their lab. Both Benegal and Nihalani, as the original filmmaker and cinematographer, played roles in the meticulous restoration of ‘Manthan’.

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