Shyam Benegal is one of the most prolific contemporary filmmakers from India's New Cinema'. From his first film Ankur (1974) through to Zubeidaa (2000), he has explored the contradictions and tensions of a society in rapid transition, with a unique focus on the female protagonist. Sangeeta Datta's book traces his career with its beginnings in political cinema an a realist aesthetic. It shows how the struggles of the dispossessed and marginalised in Indian society find expression in films as diverse as Nishant, Bhumika, Mandi, Suraj Ka Satwan Ghoda and Kalyug. It traces Bengal's work with some of the biggest names in Indian cinema - Shabana Azmi, Smita Patil, Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Govind Nihalani and, more recently, Karishma Kapoor and A.R. Rahman - developing a style and ethos uniquely his. It also explains how the director's work presents both a stark contrast to Bollywood and yet contains creative continuities with commercial cinema and his distinguished predecessor Satyahit Ray. Perhaps no other director has come close to painting such a compelling and vivid portrait of modern India.