Manthan is a 1976 Hindi film made by the filmmaker Shyam Benegal, inspired by the pioneering milk cooperative movement of Verghese Kurien written jointly by him and Vijay Tendulkar. It is set amidst the backdrop of the White Revolution of India. Aside from the great measurable success that this project was, it also demonstrated the power of "collective might" as it was entirely crowdfunded by 500,000 farmers who donated Rs. 2 each
The film traces the origins of the movement through its fictionalised narrative, based around rural empowerment, when a young veterinary surgeon, played by Girish Karnad, a character based on then, National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) chief, the 33-year-old Verghese Kurien, who joined hands with local social worker, Tribhovandas Patel, which led to the setting up a local milk cooperative, in Anand, Gujarat.
Dr. Rao (Girish Karnad), a young veterinary doctor with his team of Deshmukh (Mohan Agashe), Chandravarkar (Anant Nag) and others comes to a village in Kheda district, Gujarat. The village is inhabited by poor people whose chief occupation seems to be cattle-rearing and producing milk, which they sell to a local dairy owner Mishra Ji (Amrish Puri). Mishra Ji pays them ridiculously low amounts for their milk. Dr. Rao and his team have arrived with the purpose of setting up a co-operative society dairy which will be owned collectively and managed by the villagers themselves. As Dr.Rao and his team grapple with village politics, rigid casteism and general distrust of the village folk, they face planned hostility from the local Harijan community's leader Bhola (Naseeruddin Shah) who harbours deep anger and resentment against the higher caste Panchayat Head (Kulbhushan Kharbanda). Local village women are led by a feisty young woman Bindu (Smita Patil), mother of a young child whose husband has supposedly left her.
1. In 1976, Manthan won the award of National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi and Best Screenplay.
2. In 1978, Manthan won the Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer.