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Shakti Samanta retrospective opens

Information & Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni speaking at the inauguration of the 'Retrospective of Shakti Samanta Films', organised by the Directorate of Film Festivals, in New Delhi on Friday.
Information & Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni speaking at the inauguration of the 'Retrospective of Shakti Samanta Films', organised by the Directorate of Film Festivals, in New Delhi on Friday.
Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni inaugurated a three-day restrospective of films of the late producer and director Shakti Samanta at the Siri Fort auditorium in the capital on Friday evening.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms Soni said she and the Ministry were committed to take good cinema to the "aam aadmi" (common man) by organising more such retrospectives of celebrated film-makers.

She praised the Directorate of Film Festivals, which has organised the event, for holding a mini-film festival in Shillong, Meghalaya, recently. She said more such events would be organised in different parts of the country soon.

Ms Soni recalled her experience as Tourism and Culture Minister in the previous government when she found, during an Indian cultural festival in China last year, there was an eager demand for Indian cinema.

She also recalled that the government had made use of the talent of Samanta for seven long years as the Chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification.

Mr Ashim Samanta, a well-known film director in his own right and the son of the late film-maker, narrated episodes from his father's life. He said that his father had started as a school teacher at a place 100 kms from Mumbai and would travel to the city every Friday.

During these visits, he came in touch with the well-known actor Ashok Kumar, which led to the making of "Inspector" and then "Howrah Bridge".

Samanta's award-winning film Amar Prem (Hindi, colour, 1972, 153 minutes) was screened at the inaugural function.

The other films that are being screened at the retrsopective today and tomorrow are Howrah Bridge, Kati Patang, Amanush, Kashmir ki Kali and Anurag.

Samanta had passed away in Mumbai on April 9 this year at the age of 83. His first directorial venture was Bahu in 1955 and three years later he turned a producer with Howrah Bridge.

In all, he directed 43 feature films---37 in HIndi and six in Bengali. Seven of his films won Filmfare awards. The well-known actress Sharmila Tagore made her Bollywood debut in Kashmir ki Kali. She went on to star in several of his later films, including An Evening in Paris and Aradhana.

Some of his other popular films are China Town, Barsaat ki Ek Raat and Mehbooba. He started the trend of making double version movies in Hindi and Bengali with Amanush in 1974. He made the first co-produced film between India and Bangladesh in 1984.

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