To see things not with the filter of what is given but to see things as they are __ that's what my films are about.' Shyam Benegal. Shyam Benegal is the best known and most prolific contemporary filmmaker from India's arthouse or 'New Cinema' tradition. From Benegal's first film Ankur (1974) through to the recent hit Zubeidaa (2000), his films have explored the contradictions and tensions of a society in very rapid transition with an uniquely powerful focus on female protagonists. Sangeeta Datta's book traces a career with its beginnings in political cinema and a realist aesthetic. She demonstrates how the struggles of women and the dispossessed and marginalised in Indian society have found an eloquent expression in films as diverse as as Nishant, Bhumika, Mandi, Suraj ka Satwa Ghoda and Kalyug. The book also traces Benegal's work with collaborators including many of the biggest names in commercial cinema __ Om Puri, Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah and more recently Karishma Kapoor, Govind Nihalini, and A.R. Rahman __ developing a style and ethos uniquely his. In this first major overview of the director's work the author explains how it presents both a stark contrast to Bollywood and yet also contains many creative continuities both with commercial cinema and his distinguished predecessor Satyajit Ray. She shows too how no other director has come close to painting such a compelling and vivid portrait of modern India.