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'Zubeidaa was my take on the traditional Indian film'

Last week, Shyam Benegal was in Telluride, Colorado, and in his honour the Telluride Film Festival opened with an Indian meal -- or something that resembled like that.

It was a mix of chicken tikka masala, gobi alu and samosas.

Fortunately, the five Benegal films shown at the festival -- Ankur, Bhumika, Trikal, Zubeidaa and his documentary on Satyajit Ray, were pure, authentic and good representation of Indian cinema.

A lot of people attending the festival did not seem to know much about Indian food, but they were enthusiastic. And similarly, at least some of the festival attendees opened up to Benegal's works for the first time.

Benegal's works have been shown at prestigious festivals like Cannes and Berlin, but as Scott Foudas recently wrote in LA Weekly, the Indian master's films are not that well known in the US. And so, one should commend the brave programmers of the Telluride Film Festival for organising a mini retrospective of Benegal and paying tribute to the master.

Text: Aseem Chhabra

In the picture: Shyam Benegal with wife Neera at Telluride

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