Kumar Shahani is a renowned director. He was born on 7th December 1940 in Larkana, Sindh, now a part of Pakistan. Kumar completed his B. A (Hons) in Political Science and History from the University of Bombay. He was a student of
at the Film and Television Institute of India, where he studied screenplay writing and advanced direction. He continued his study under D.D. Kosambi. He also got a chance to study at the Institut des Hautes etudes cinématographiques in France, as the French government awarded him a scholarship. There he assisted Robert Bresson with his first color film, Une femme douce. His first film came out in 1965. It was his graduate diploma film titled The Glass Pane. After this, he made several short films. These were Manmad Passenger in 1967, A certain childhood in 1969, Rails for the World in 1970, and Object in 1971.
His first major project came in 1972. His film Maya Darpan was a huge success. It was a significant part of the Parallel Cinema movement in India. It is also considered India’s first formalist film. His other short films include Fire in the Belly in 1973, Our Universe in 1976, Vaar Vaar Vaari in 1987, A ship Aground in 1989, The Bamboo Flute in 2000, and As the Crow Flies in 2004. He even made a movie based on Rabindranath Tagore’s novel in 1997. It was titled the same as the book and was known as Char Adhyay. His next successful movie after Maya Darpan was Tarang in 1984. It came 12 years after the former because of the funding that was needed. He then made a film in 1989 about the Khayal genre of classical singing and its relationship with Indian classical dance. The name of the movie was Khayal Gatha. It was an experimental movie but turned out to be a very successful one.
His next big hit came in 1990 with the name Kasba. It is based on a short story of Russian playwright Anton Chekhov titled In the Ravine. He won the Filmfare Award for Best Film Critics for his movies Maya Darpan, Khayal Gatha, and Kasba, National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi for Maya Darpan, National Film Award – Special Jury Award for Tarang, and FIPRESCI prize- Rotterdam International Film Festival for Khayal Gatha. In 2014, MR Rajan made a documentary film on Kumar Shahani’s life with When the Bird became a Wave. It was a beautiful tribute to the director and was shot over a period of 4 years.