Indian Director Mani Kaul Dies at 66

Arthouse helmer was one of the pioneers of the Indian new wave.

NEW DELHI -- Veteran filmmaker Mani Kaul, 66, died Wednesday following an illness at his home on the outskirts of Delhi.

Considered one of the pioneers of the new wave of arthouse Indian cinema in the seventies, Kaul was known for blurring the lines between films and documentaries.

A graduate of India's prestigious Film and Television Institute in Pune (near Mumbai), Kaul began his career with his 1969 debut film Uski Roti that won the Filmfare Critics Award.

Kaul was a jury member at the 1971 Berlin film festival and among his other achievements, he won the government's National Award for his 1989 documentary Siddheshwari.

Kaul's credits included the 1992 award-winning Hindi feature Idiot based on the Fodor Dostoevsky novel that starred then upcoming Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan.

Kaul was also festival director for the 2009 Cinefan festival held in Delhi organized by Mumbai-based arthouse Osian's.

Mani Kaul was one of the pioneers of the new wave in Indian cinema who explored new language and expression in his films,” said India's Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Ambika Soni in an official statement.

Through his innovative imagery, vocabulary and experimentation he started a new movement in Indian cinema. His untimely death has left a void in the film industry which would be very difficult to fill.”