Hindi Jan 01, 1934 (India)
Shantarams classic opens with a sensational low-angle circular track movements Chandiak cult followers meet in a dungeon of flickering lights and deep shadow. As the more rationalist King Krantivarma (Varde) banned human or animal sacrifices from the increasingly fantical festivals dedicated to the goddess, the cults high priest (Chandramohan/Date) orders the hapless Vishwasgupta (Kelkar) to kill the king. He obeys but is then betrayed by the prefidious priest and caught. His son Madhavgupta (Mane) and daughter Sumitra (Apte) together with the princess (Tarkhad) and the people finally overthrow the priest. There are several famous scenes, including the twice-told legend of the churning of the seas, once by the priest to show how evil must be exorcised, and again by a good general to show how demons often appear disguised as gods. Although invoking divine intervention when Madhavgupta is about to be sacrificed, the films strongly political thrust has the people rise in revolt. Shantaram had just returned from Germany and used several techniques from that expression cinema, including the systematic recourse to artifical light, even bleaching the film places, and in its most famous shot, the telephoto lens foucsed on the priests right eye in his opening declaration. Prabhats first all-India hit introduced names later assiciated with several of the studios productions, with screen debuts from both Date in the Hindi. Date perhaps gives his best performance ever, while Apte plays her first adult role. It is composer Bholes first adult role. It is composer Bholes first professional film. Fattelal and Damle are responsible for the art direction and the sound. [Source: Encyclopaedia of Indian Cinema] Check out this page for more updates on Amrit Manthan.
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