ReFocus: The Films of Shyam Benegal
Sneha Kar Chaudhuri and Ramit Samaddar
156 x 234 mm
Year of Publishing
Territorial Rights
Orient BlackSwan

Shyam Benegal, a trailblazing auteur who successfully redefined the contours of non-commercial Hindi language cinema, is widely perceived as one of the most influential Indian filmmakers. And yet, his voluminous body of work remains relatively under-studied in contemporary film scholarship.

To help fill this critical lacuna, ReFocus: The Films of Shyam Benegal undertakes a closer look at Benegal’s films and shows how the auteur, over the course of his forty-year career, used cinema as a potent medium to narrate the story of a nation in continuous transition. The book attempts to be as representative as possible in its scope by choosing to examine his ‘major’ as well as his ‘minor’ cinematic ventures.

The thirteen essays in this volume explore how Benegal’s films articulate his concerns about caste, class, gender, religion, and other allied social, economic, and political problems characterizing the Indian subcontinent. They offer nuanced critiques of the way Benegal’s parallel cinema upholds the value of meaningful cinema as a means to create social awareness in the minds of the audience. This collection also includes a full-length interview with Shyam Benegal, which investigates his perspectives on the art of film-making and provides an analysis of his own films.

This book will interest scholars and academics studying Indian cinema, Bollywood cinema, subaltern studies, media studies, gender politics, adaptation and postcolonial studies.

Sneha Kar Chaudhuri is Associate Professor of English at the West Bengal State University, Kolkata

Ramit Samaddar is Assistant Professor of English at Jadavpur University, Kolkata

List of Figures
Notes on Contributors

Sneha Kar Chaudhuri and Ramit Samaddar

1 Ankur: Multiple Narratives of Protest
Sarani Ghosal Mondal

2 Nishant and the New Dawn: Towards a Sacerdotal–Secular Modernity?   
Nikhila H

3 Churning Out Change: A Moment of Reading Manthan
Ritu Sen Chaudhuri

4 Where Labour is Performed: The Public/Private Dichotomy and the Politics of Stigma in Bhumika and Mandi
Suchitra Mathur

5 Adaptation and Epistemic Redress: The Indian Uprising in Junoon
Ana Cristina Mendes

6 Cause and Kin: Knowledge and Nationhood in Kalyug
Somak Mukherjee

7 The Ascent in Arohan
Partha Pratim Sen and Arunima Ray (Chowdhury)

8 From Fidelity to Creativity: Benegal and Suraj Ka Satvan Ghoda
Sudha Shastri

9 Mammo and Projections of the Muslim Woman: Indian Parallel Cinema, Partition and Belonging
Omar Ahmed

10 Adapting Gandhi/Kasturba in The Making of the Mahatma
Vivek Sachdeva

11 In Search of Zubeidaa
Ramit Samaddar

12 Subversive Heroism and the Politics of Biopic Adaptation in Bose: The Forgotten Hero
Sneha Kar Chaudhuri

13 The Rural in the Glocal Intersection: Representation of Space in Welcome to Sajjanpur and Well Done Abba
Aysha Iqbal Viswamohan and Sayanty Chatterjee

14 Shyam Benegal in Conversation
Anuradha Dingwaney Needham


1. Book Review | Published in The Book Review Literary Trust, August 2023.
2. Book Review | Published in The Print, 7 May 2023.
3. Book Review | Published in Governance Now, 5 May 2023.
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