Shyam Benegal is internationally recognized filmmaker and as a citizen. He is a recipient of the Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri awards, two of the highest honors given by the Republic of India to civilians, and he served as a member of Parliament. For cinéphiles, Benegal is considered the Father of the Indian New Wave, a new direction in Indian filmmaking that extends the realist tradition of Bengali filmmakers like Satyajit Ray. Benegal's first feature film, Ankur (1973), starring Shabana Azmi and Anant Nag, explored economic and sexual exploitation within asymmetrical social relations of gender, class, and caste. The film won immediate critical praise in India and abroad. Benegal's other films have won national and international acclaim, including seven National Film Awards, twenty Filmfare Awards, and nominations and awards at the Cannes, Berlin, and Moscow International Film Festivals. In addition to winning the popular acclaim of film festivals, Benegal is a politically committed filmmaker, even when working in a Bollywood-like idiom.