He directed his first film, "Netaji Palkar" in 1927, and in 1929, founded the Prabhat Film Company along with V.G. Damle, K.R. Dhaiber, S. Fatelal and S.B. Kulkarni , which he left in 1942 and to form "Rajkamal Kala Mandir" in Mumbai , in time 'Rajkamal' became one of most sophisticated studios of the country
He was praised by Charlie Chaplin for his Marathi film Manoos (English: Man). Charlie Chaplin reportedly liked the film very much.
He was awarded the Indian film industry's highest award, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, in 1985 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1992.
V. Shantaram was born Rajaram Vankudre Shantaram , on 18 November 1901, in the erstwhile princely state of Kolhapur in present day Maharashtra. He was born to a reputed family of Kolhapur.
V. Shantaram started his film career doing odd jobs in Maharashtra Film Co. owned by Baburao Painter at Kolhapur , growing up to debut as an actor in the silent film, Surekha Haran in 1921
V. Shantaram had an illustrious career as a filmmaker for almost six decades, starting as an actor in the silent era films and later transitioning into a film director of Hindi and Marathi cinema. He was one of the early filmmakers to realize the efficacy of the film medium as an instrument of social change and used it successfully to advocate humanism on one hand and expose bigotry and injustice on the other. He is the founder of Rajkamal Studios.
The highest accolade of the Indian film industry, for lifetime achievement, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, was conferred on him in 1985 He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan award in 1992
His autobiography titled, Shantaram was published in Hindi and Marathi .
V. Shantaram died on 30 October 1990 in Mumbai. The 'V. Shantaram Award' was consitituted by Central Government and Maharashtra State Government, and the V. Shantaram Motion Picture Scientific Research and Cultural Foundation, established in 1993, shortly after his death, and offers various awards to film makers, the award is presented on 18 November each year being Shantaram's birth anniversary .
- 1957: Filmfare Best Director Award: Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje
- 1958: National Film Award for Best Film: Do Aankhen Barah Haath
- 1958: Berlin International Film Festival, OCIC Award: Do Aankhen Barah Haath 
- 1958: Berlin International Film Festival, Silver Bear (Special Prize): Do Aankhen Barah Haath 
- 1959: Golden Globe Awards, Samuel Goldwyn Award: Do Aankhen Barah Haath 
- 1985: Dadasaheb Phalke Award
- 1992: Padma Vibhushan
- 1951: Cannes Film Festival, Grand Prize: Amar Bhoopali (The Immortal Song)
- 1958: Berlin International Film Festival, Silver Bear: Do Aankhen Barah Haath
- Shantaram, Kiran & Narwekar, Sanjit; V Shantaram: The Legacy of the Royal Lotus, 2003, Rupa & Co., .
- Banerjee, Shampa; Profiles, five film-makers from India: V. Shantaram, Raj Kapoor, Mrinal Sen, Guru Dutt, Ritwik Ghatak Directorate of Film Festivals, National Film Development Corp, 1985. .