Born in 1965 inCalcutta, Gautam Benegal graduated fromJadavpurUniversitytaking his degree in Comparative Literature. From his early years he showed a marked aptitude for graphic arts. At age sixteen at the invitation of Satyajit Ray, renowned director and editor of the children’s magazine “Sandesh”, his illustrations and articles regularly appeared in Sandesh and subsequently other children’s magazines like Anandamela, Neelkamal Lalkamal and Scifun.
Leading newspapers such as the Ananda Bazaar Patrika group and the Economic Times published his drawings. At age 18, he joined an outreach program of the National Institute of Design and made a 2 minute film, Bhurigolla as his diploma course project under the guidance of Mr Raghunath Goswami, the acclaimed animator and puppeteer.
Benegal then animated a pre-school T.V., serial for the University Grants Commission called Tarramtoo directed by Dr Peggy Mohan and under the consultation of Professor Yashpal, director of the UGC. Thereafter, he relocated to Mumbai where he worked for two years with Ram Mohan, India’s leading animation expert, as animator on several ad films, notable among them the Kelvinator penguin (“It’s the coolest one”), Pumaply, Gems Bond, and Handyplast. With “Tupatup”, his first independant film for CFSI, he turned to independent animation film making. He made a second animation film for CFSI based on a Bengali folk tale which has the unusual title of “Gauraya ki Champi.” In 200 he has made “Kalkalam” a short animated film, based on Rabindranath Tagore’s short story “Totakahini” for the Films Division. All his films have been selected in film festivals abroad in Teheran, Hiroshima, Belarus, Cairo and Annecy.
Benegal has made animation promos for Channel [V] and MTV as well as assisted in documentary films for Shyam Benegal Sahyadri Films on documentaries on Aids Awareness and for the Spastic Society of India. He has also directed a documentary film on Thalassaemia awareness for the pharmaceutical company Cipla and a documentary film on Noise Pollution.
In 1994, Benegal was invited by Zee TV as consultant for a year to train a group of 16 trainee animators to man its fledgling animation department which later went on to become ZICA.
Benegal is also a freelance painter, journalist and cartoonist associated with the DNA and Times Of India .
In 2010 he made the one hour animation film “The Prince and the Crown of Stone” which won two Rajatkamal National Awards. In 2011 he has written a book of short stories for teenagers called “1/7 Bondel Road which has received wide critical acclaim.
Forthcoming works include a novel set in Eighties Calcutta, and a 30 minutes short animation film called “Setu” on child labor.
At the moment Gautam Benegal’s main area of interest lies in developing original and indigenous IP’s and screenplays, storyboards and the creation of characters for emerging TV channels and other platforms that support children’s content.