Shyam Benegal: Watch The Story Of India’s White Revolution In Manthan, Exclusively On ZEE5 #FlashbackFriday

Shyam Benegal’s classic essays the ‘need of renaissance’ through a story set in the backdrop of India’s White Revolution. Here are few reasons why you should not miss out on watching Manthan.

ZEE5 Web Desk

March 24, 2021




5 min


The 70s was probably the last decade where the Indian Cinema witnessed dignified and humanised stories. The parallel cinema was much in prominence, portraying bold and realistic themes. And Shyam Benegal was one of the auteurs whose films left a lasting impression on the viewers. Today, on this ‘Flashback Friday’,  we’ll be revisiting  Benegal’s 1976 classic Manthan. Set against the backdrop of India’s White Revolution, the film gives you an insight into the ‘Amul’ story. 

Inspired by Verghese Kurien, the film Manthan revolves around the story of young Dr. Rao (Girish Karnad) who’s posted at a village in Gujarat to set up a Co-operative Society. Society aims at helping the villagers to sell their milk at the best price possible. However, the class structure and politics come in his way. The story further follows how Dr. Rao and his team struggle to make their way through these obstacles.

The narrative of Manthan is layered with many different angles that definitely give you a wide approach to the story. Even after more than 40 years, the film is still one of the relevant classics. Here are five reasons why you should watch Shyam Benegal’s Manthan on ZEE5.

As Real As It Gets

A still from Manthan
Source: ZEE5

Manthan is not about a hero rescuing the villagers. Just like every Shyam Benegal film, it is as real as it gets. Dr. Rao is a government-appointed officer who’s guiding the villagers with the benefits of joining the Cooperative society. There are few scenes where the people are afraid that following this change would forbid them the little amount they get after selling milk to Mishra Ji, the village’s sole wholesaler.

It follows the journey of Rao and his team as they make the villagers understand the real motive of the society. The film explains why ‘renaissance matters’.

Top-Notch Performances

A still from Manthan
Source: ZEE5

Characters are the soul of the film Manthan. Just name the legendary actors of the 70s and you’ll find them all here. Girish Karnad’s Dr. Rao as an officer is in the spotlight. Naseeruddin Shah’s Bhola and Smita Patil’s Bindu portray the fears and life stories of the villagers. Then there’s Amrish Puri’s Mishra Ji whose character gives the story a conflict.

All these performances are quite noteworthy. And watching these actors sharing screen space together is nothing less than a treat for the movie buffs.

Amrish Puri As A Humanised Villain

A still from Manthan
Source: ZEE5

Amrish Puri’s on-screen personas had imagery of a heinous villain. However, his negative role has two sides. To be precise, in mainstream movies he would be living in a deserted land surrounded by his men. While in most of the parallel movies, Puri has been a humanised villain like the zamindars or in Manthan as an authoritarian businessman.

Mishra Ji’s character in Manthan is one we would love to hate but we’ll also appreciate Amrish Puri’s performance.

Shyam Benegal And Vijay Tendulkar’s Collaboration

Source: Pinterest

Late Vijay Tendulkar is considered to be a pioneer of Marathi theatres in terms of writing. The playwright collaborated with Shyam Benegal for the film Manthan. Tendulkar wrote the screenplay of Manthan. And there would be nothing better than Benegal’s direction that gave life to his thoughts.

India’s First Crowdfunded Film

A still from Manthan
Source: ZEE5

Manthan is listed as India’s first crowdfunded film. The project was entirely financed by 5,00,000 farmers who contributed 2 Rs each. The dialogue at the film’s climax where Naseeruddin Shah’s Bhola says, “Society Is Ours” is Benegal’s style where he dedicates the film to the farmers.

If you haven’t watched Manthan yet, do catch it exclusively on ZEE5.

Meanwhile, stay tuned to ZEE5 for more interesting content and stories.

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