V. Shantaram also known as Shantaram Rajaram Vankudre was born on 18 November 1901 in Kolhapur, Maharashtra & died on 30 October 1990 Mumbai, is a renowned Indian film producer, filmmaker, and actor, most known for his films like Dr. Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani (1946), Amar Bhoopali (1951), Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje (1955), Do Aankhen Barah Haath (1957) and Navrang (1959), to the path breaking Duniya Na Mane (1937) and Pinjra (1972).
V. Shantaram was born in the erstwhile princely state of Kolhapur in present day Maharashtra. He was a Jain and born to a reputed Jain family of Kolhapur. During his lifetime he was also honoured with Jain Samaj Ratna award given to outstanding Jains.
He directed his first film, “Netaji Palkar” in 1927, and in 1929, founded the Prabhat Film Company along with V.G. Damle, K.R. Dhaiber, S. Fatelal and S.B. Kulkarni, which made Ayodhyecha Raja the first Marathi language film in 1932 under his direction He left Prabhat in 1942 and to form “Rajkamal Kala Mandir” in Mumbai, in time ‘Rajkamal’ became one of most sophisticated studios of the country.
He was praised by Charlie Chaplin for his Marathi film Manoos (English: Man). Charlie Chaplin reportedly liked the film very much.
He was awarded the Indian film industry’s highest award, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, in 1985 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1992.
V. Shantaram started his film career doing odd jobs in Maharashtra Film Co. owned by Baburao Painter at Kolhapur, growing up to debut as an actor in the silent film, Surekha Haran in 1921.
V. Shantaram had an illustrious career as a filmmaker for almost six decades, starting as an actor in the silent era films and later transitioning into a film director of Hindi and Marathi cinema. He was one of the early filmmakers to realize the efficacy of the film medium as an instrument of social change and used it successfully to advocate humanism on one hand and expose bigotry and injustice on the other. He is the founder of Rajkamal Studios.
The highest accolade of the Indian film industry, for lifetime achievement, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, was conferred on him in 1985 He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan award in 1992.
His autobiography titled, Shantaram was published in Hindi and Marathi.
V. Shantaram died on 30 October 1990 in Mumbai. The ‘V. Shantaram Award’ was consitituted by Central Government and Maharashtra State Government, and the V. Shantaram Motion Picture Scientific Research and Cultural Foundation, established in 1993, shortly after his death, and offers various awards to film makers, the award is presented on 18 November each year being Shantaram’s birth anniversary.
He married thrice; His first marriage was with Vimla, his second marriage was to the actress Jayashree, with whom he had three children: youngest one is Tejasri the other one is the actress Rajshree whom he launched in the film Geet Gaya Patharon Ne , and a son, Kiran Kumar, sometime sheriff of Mumbai and Marathi film director.
His third wife was actress, Sandhya who was his co-star in Do Aankhen Barah Haath as well the heroine of his films like Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje and Navrang. His other four children are Prabhat Kumar, Sarojini, Charushila and Madhura Pandit, who is married to classical singer, Pandit Jasraj and have a daughter actress, Durga Jasraj.
He also introduced film actor Jeetendra in Hindi cinema with the film Geet Gaaya Patharonay. He was fondly called Annasaheb.