A Living Portrait of India
|India Heritage:Performing Arts:Cinema In India:History:The Pioneers|
|Baburao Painter (1890-1954)|
A master at sculpting, painting and woodwork - Baburao Mistry was called Baburao Painter by his legion of admirers! The lack of a complete formal education was inconsequential in the face of his awesome creativity.
World War I had begun, but the magic of Phalke's Raja Harishchandra endured - Baburao and his cousin Anandarao bought a movie projector from the Bombay flea market and proceeded to exhibit films, studying the art of movies all the while. Anandarao was busy with assembling a camera for their maiden venture, and his untimely death at this juncture compelled Baburao to go it alone.
In 1919 - Maharashtra Film Company set up. Baburao had borrowed from Tanibai Kagolkar, a long-time admirer, for the purpose and he also created his own movie camera.
The studio itself had a family feel and many artistes lived there, in particular, his leading ladies - Gulab Bai (renamed Kamaladevi) and Anusuya Bai (renamed Sushiladevi).
Baburao wrote the screenplays for his films and very systematically at that! He was also the first film - maker to adopt the method Einstein had described as 'stenographic' - he sketched the costumes, movements, and characters. This was a failproof way to put thoughts on paper. [This was the method Satyajit Ray adopted for Pather Panchali - there was no written script, just a book full of sketches. This 'script' is with Cinematheque Francaise, Paris.]
A perfectionist, he insisted upon any number of rehearsals. As Zunzarrao Pawar, a cast member, said '' He would take umpteen rehearsals before actual shooting....but he was very slow in film-making. That was why we used to get annoyed with him sometimes.''
In 1920 - Sairandhri.
In 1921 - Surekha Haran.
Publicity was not alien to Painter's many talents - in 1921-22, he distributed programme booklets complete with photographs and film details.
In 1923 - Sinhagad.
In 1924 - Kalyan Khajina.
Together, Sinhagad and Kalyan Khajina won a medal at the Wembley Exhibition, London. One newspaper, Daily Express, described the films as ''full of strangely wistful beauty, and acted with extraordinary grace.''
In 1925 -
In 1927 - Netaji Palkar.
In 1928 - Karna.
The advent of sound in 1931 did not excite Painter. Rather, he believed that visual excellence would be destroyed, and closed down Maharashtra Film Company.
In 1935 - Usha.
In 1936 - remake of Savkari Pash (as a talkie).
In 1937 - Pratibha.
In 1947 - Ramjoshi. A highly successful film.
Encyclopaedia of Indian Cinema.