Shantaram Rajaram Vankudre (18 November 1901 – 30 October 1990), referred to as V. Shantaram, was an Indian filmmaker, film producer and actor.
He is most known for his films like Dr. Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani (1946), Amar Bhoopali (1951), Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje (1955), Do Aankhen Barah Haath (1957), Navrang (1959), Duniya Na Mane (1937), Pinjra (1972), Chani, Iye Marathiche Nagari and Zunj.
He directed his first film, Netaji Palkar in 1927. In 1929, he founded the Prabhat Film Company along with Vishnupant 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 to form “Rajkamal Kalamandir” in Mumbai. In time, ‘Rajkamal’ became one of most sophisticated studios of the country.
He was praised by Chaplin for his Marathi film Manoos. Chaplin reportedly liked the film very much.
Shantaram Rajaram Vankudre was born on 18 November 1901 in the erstwhile princely state of Kolhapur (in present-day Maharashtra) into a Maharashtrian Jain family.
V. Shantaram started his film career doing odd jobs in Maharashtra Film Co. owned by Baburao Painter at Kolhapur. He went on to debut as an actor in the silent film, Surekha Haran in 1921.
Shantaram, fondly known as Annasaheb, had an illustrious career as a filmmaker for almost six decades. 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. V. Shantaram had a very keen interest in music.
It is said that he “ghost wrote” music for many of his music directors, and took a very active part in the creation of music.
Some of his songs had to rehearsed several times before which they were approved by V. Shantaram.
The Dadasaheb Phalke Award was conferred on him in 1985. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 1992.
His autobiography Shantarama was published in Hindi and Marathi.
Shantaram died on 30 October 1990 in Mumbai. The V. Shantaram Award was constituted by Central Government and Maharashtra State Government.
The V. Shantaram Motion Picture Scientific Research and Cultural Foundation, established in 1993, offers various awards to film makers. The award is presented annually on 18 November.
A postage stamp, bearing his face, was released by India Post to honour him on 17 November 2001.
Shantaram was born in Kohlapur to a Marathi Jain family and he married thrice. His first marriage was to Vimla, with whom he has three children, son Prabhat Kumar,daughters Saroj and Charusheela, mother of actor Sushant Ray a.k.a Siddharth Ray.
Shantaram then married actress Jayashree (née Kamulkar), with whom he had three children- Marathi film producer Kiran, actress Rajshree and Tejashree.
His third wife, actress Sandhya(née Vijaya Deshmukh), was his co-star in Do Aankhen Barah Haath as well as the heroine of his films like Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje, Navrang, Jal Bin Machhli Nritya Bin Bijli, and Sehra. Their daughter, Madhura is married to Pandit Jasraj and mother of Shaarangdev Pandit and Durga Jasraj.
He introduced Rajshree and Jeetendra in the 1964 film Geet Gaya Patharon Ne. He also introduced his niece Ranjana Deshmukh into the marathi film industry through Chandanachi Choli Ang Ang Jaali, directed by Kiran Shantaram in 1975.
Ranjana dominated the Marathi silver screen in 70s and 80s. He used to live at Panhala. His daughter, Saroj has maintained his house and converted it into a hotel, Valley View.