Shyam Benegal presented Indira Gandhi Award

11/1/2004 12:00:00 AM
Renowned film maker Shyam Benegal was Sunday presented the 19th Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration for contributing to communal harmony and unity through his films.

Awards advisory committee chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi presented the award to Benegal, famous for his artistically superior yet commercially viable films like "Ankur" (1974), "Nishant" (1975), "Manthan" (1976) and "Bhumika" (1977).

Stating that his films depicted the sufferings of the poorest of the society, Gandhi hoped that he would make many more such films that created awareness about them in the society.

Gandhi recalled that her mother-in-law and former prime minister Indira Gandhi was a source of comfort for the poor across the country.

The award has been instituted in the memory of Indira Gandhi, who was assassinated by her bodyguards on this day in 1984.

Speaking on the occasion Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Indira Gandhi would be proud of Benegal's contribution, especially to Indian women through his films.

He said: "Indira Gandhi had a keen understanding of cinema and its power to emotionally integrate the nation".

Benegal is a recipient of several national and international awards, including the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Shri, India's third and fourth highest civilian awards.