Celebrating the enormous contribution of V Shantaram in the field of arts and cinema, Google Doodle on Saturday paid homage to the Indian filmmaker-actor on his 116th birthday. Known as one of the pioneers of Indian cinema, he not only witnessed the evolution of art through the years but made contributions in creating technology and inventing new styles of filmmaking.
Spanning more than six decades, he made his directorial and acting debut during the silent cinema phase, set his reputation during the early talkie-era and even saw the advent of digital technology, becoming an icon during his lifetime. Over the decades, he produced 92 films, directed 55 films and acted in 25 films.
The doodle has been created by Hungary-based illustrator Sukanto Debnath, who is an alumnus of Vishwa Bharti University, Shantiniketan. For the doodle, Debnath featured three iconic works of Shantaram in the 1950s that won him numerous national and international awards. Amar Bhoopali (1951), Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje (1955), and Do Aankhen Baara Haath (1957). While Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje was one of the first films in India to use Technicolour, he received the Silver Bear for Extraordinary Prize of the Jury at the 1958 Berlin Film Festival for Do Aankhen Barah Haath.
He tried to use his films to highlight socio-economic problems advocating humanism while exposing injustice. He was also felicitated with the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1986. The reach of this doodle is only limited to India.
On the other hand, Google paid tribute to another actor and singer Pedro Infante on his birth centenary. The Mexican artiste was often compared to the likes of Frank Sinatra, Humphrey Bogart, and Elvis Presley. The interactive doodle shows Infante’s passions went beyond stage and screen, though they often appeared intertwined. Not just an actor and singer, he was also an off-camera boxer and it was also caught on camera for his 1953 iconic film Pepe El Toro.
Infante acted in nearly 60 films and recorded 366 songs, becoming one of the most prominent and loved figures in “La época de Oro del Cine Mexicano” (the Golden Era of Mexican cinema). And to draw parallels, he also received the Silver Bear for Best Actor posthumously at the 7th Berlin International Film Festival for his performance in Tizoc, his last film.
The doodle, with scenes illustrating the vibrant parallels between his life and work — all beginning with an iconic Infante pose, has a wider reach, throughout North and South America along with Iceland, Sweden, Portugal, Greece, Croatia, Bulgaria, Belarus, and Japan.