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Visionary - V. Shantaram

 
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> Visionary - V. Shantaram
swarapriya
post Feb 24 2019, 09:30 PM
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Zulum (1931) - A Silent Film

This was the last silent film released by the Prabhat Films Company of which Shantaram was one of the partners. It was directed by Keshavrao Dhaiber. Unfortunately there are no prints available of this movie.

This movie had a serious theme. It dealt with exploitation of the poor by the evil minded rich. I do not have any other particulars about this film.

The talkies have arrived in India. Things about movies are never going to be same anymore. From next week onwards we will start with looking into the contributions made by Shantaram to the film industry in talking movies, one at a time every week.


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swarapriya
post Mar 3 2019, 07:32 PM
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Ayodhya Ka Raja (1932-Hindi) & Ayodhyecha Raja (1932-Marathi) - Prabhat's First Talkie

Silent movies are part of history now. World has seen talking movies take over. It has swept movie going public around the world in awe and amazement. Watching movies was never going to be the same again. Not to be left behind India saw the talkies phenomenon take over. For the first time people were able to see in the movie actors talking, singing, dancing, laughing, and crying. They could hear singing of the birds, roaring of the river rapids, splashing of ocean waves, whispering of the winds, and every listening experience you can imagine. Here we are. Shantaram, his partners, and their company Prabhat films was not far behind. The following story unfolds how it all started for them…

This was the first talkie to come from Prabhat Film Company. The emblem of Prabhat was originally thought by Shantaram when he sat down near a temple and saw the sun rising. He explained this first to one of his partners, Fatehlal. He told him that a woman steps forward ushering the rising sun in the eastern sky. Fatehlal immediately drew the sketch from that description. See this sketch attached below. All partners agreed this to be the emblem for their company unanimously.

This talkie was the first talkie directed by Shantaram. It was also the first Marathi talkie. It was considered to be a technical leap in movies because of the song and dialogue quality. The movie also boasted splendid sets like the ones never seen before, trick photography, and gripping realism with uncompromising principles of the king.

The Marathi version of this film, “Ayodhyecha Raja,” in video format is available. However the Hindi version, “Ayodhya Ka Raja,” is not.

Durga Khote who played Taramati in these films, was from an upper class elite Brahmin family and well educated (she had a B.A. degree). Her taking the role of Taramati is now recognized as the one that gave a social leap. Until that time it was considered a taboo for women of upper class to be part of the films.

“Alam Ara” which was released in 1931 was the first talkie produced in India. But in 2003 fire at the National Archives of India the film was destroyed. By default “Ayodhyecha Raja” is now considered to be the first talkie (because it is available).

Shantaram made this movie in Marathi as “Ayodhyecha Raja” and in Hindi as “Ayodhya Ka Raja” simultaneously. Its title in English “The King of Ayodhya”. For some curious reason Prabhat gave their movies an English title. It was the first Marathi talkie and the first bilingual talkie made in India. The decision to make the film in two languages proved to be crucial for Prabhat as well as the rest of the industry. It set a pattern for much of the filmmaking in the 1930s.

Besides directing the film, Shantaram also edited the film. This was a mythological story taken from the epic Mahabharata, of king Harishchandra. It is interesting to note that the first silent feature length movie made by Dadasaheb Phalke (see his picture attached below) in 1913 was “Raja Harishchandra”. This first talkie Shantaram directed took the same story. Many people believe that this was a gesture by Shantaram paying a tribute to Phalke. In later years Shantaram became a close friend of Phalke. When Phalke’s fortunes turned bad and became very poor both physically and financially, Shantaram helped him by sending money every month.

The movie was shot on elaborate plaster sets. They were designed by Fatehlal. There were some daring shots in the film. For example, in a burning forest, a tree falls on the ground missing the king. Granted the movie depended upon stage-driven frontal compositions, but underneath all this there was a genuine attempt to be realistic as well. This was evident in the scenes where the king’s family is impoverished and trying hard to earn a living.

In Phalke’s movie Taramati was played by a man. He was not able to get any female to perform that role. Women feared appearing in the films because people looked down on them. That taboo was completely broken with the appearance of Durga Khote in this Shantaram’s film.

Here is a word about Mrs. Khote. See her attached picture below. She came from an elite Brahmin family. As soon as she graduated from the college she got married. Her husband passed away when she was just 25 years old and she had two little kids to raise. She was an independent woman and did not want to take any help from her parents. She was ready to take any job. She was neither an actress nor a singer. Yet, through her sister’s acquaintance she got a small role in Mohan Bhavnani’s 1931 Hindi film “Farebi Jaal”. The English title of the movie was “Trapped”. The movie flopped and she felt embarrassed at the whole experience.

Not many people saw “Trapped” but one of those who saw it was Shantaram. He decided to offer her the role of “Taramati” in his first talkie, “Ayodhyecha Raja”. She accepted the offer. The movie became a success in both Hindi and Marathi versions.

Shantaram also cast her for his next film “Maya Machhindra” which again hit the bull’s eye with the audience. From there onwards there was no looking back for Mrs. Khote.

Remember this was the first talkie by Prabhat Films. There were only few talking movies thus far that came out. Technicians who were experts and very proficient in silent movies have yet to get a handle with the sound. The system itself was still in primitive stages. That is why the audio quality of the soundtrack of the film is noisy and of inferior quality.

The Marathi version of the film was a huge success. After all it was the first Marathi talkie. Hindi version did not fare well as the Marathi version except in Mumbai. Yet it was billed as a success. The movie’s success gave a firm footing for Prabhat. In the coming years they will have a huge impact on how the films are made and what people want to see in them.

Details of songs from both versions follow starting in the next post…

This post has been edited by swarapriya: Mar 3 2019, 07:59 PM


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swarapriya
post Mar 3 2019, 07:34 PM
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Ayodhya Ka Raja (1932) - Hindi

Neither the movie version nor the songs from this film were available for me to share. The songs of the Hindi film are listed in the table below. I am requesting fellow Forum members to share them with rest of us if they have any. Thank you.

This post has been edited by swarapriya: Mar 3 2019, 07:56 PM


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swarapriya
post Mar 3 2019, 07:45 PM
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Ayodhyecha Raja (1932) - Marathi

I am uploading all songs ripped from a DVD below. I do not speak Marathi but the song quality was so bad that I could not tell in some of the songs what the words were. One of my Marathi friends helped identify some of these. Many thanks to my friend.

I am uploading these songs at a lower bit rate in two back-to-back posts. Here are the songs in the first post…


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Attached File  Baala_Ka_Jhop_Yeina.rar ( 1.83 MB ) Number of hits: 2 by members
Attached File  Dhanya_Dhanya_Raaj_Ayodhya.rar ( 3.62 MB ) Number of hits: 2 by members
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swarapriya
post Mar 3 2019, 07:49 PM
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Concluding Songs from "Ayodhyecha Raja (1932)"...

Here are the rest of the songs from this movie...


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Attached File  Parama_Dharma_Satya.rar ( 2.66 MB ) Number of hits: 2 by members
Attached File  Raaja_Saare_Jeevan.rar ( 2.52 MB ) Number of hits: 2 by members
Attached File  Satwa_Paalana_Vina.rar ( 3.38 MB ) Number of hits: 2 by members
Attached File  Shiva_Shankara_Girijaavara.rar ( 1.2 MB ) Number of hits: 1 by members
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swarapriya
post Mar 10 2019, 06:12 PM
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Jalti Nishani (1932 - Hindi) & Agnikankan (1932 - Marathi)

This film was directed by Shantaram. It was simultaneously made in Hindi as “Jalti Nishan” and in Marathi as “Agnikankan”. It also had an English title, “Branded Oath”.

The Marathi version of this film in video format is available. But the Hindi version is not.

The movie was a costume drama with action, adventure and sword play. It told the story of a king who was killed by his own commander through treachery. His wife escapes with her son and brings him up in secret. The film chronicles the young prince’s escapades by disposing off the evil commander and reclaiming the throne.

Gajanan Jagirdar started his acting career with the Hindi version of the film. He was only 25 years but played the role of a 75-year old in the film. It was originally was to be played by D.D. Mane. But Mane’s Hindi diction was iffy, so Jagirdar stepped in.

By now Shantaram established himself as a director whose movies contain large sets and classical décor. This film was no exception. The film also had more sophisticated lighting compared to his previous efforts.

The movie was released to fabulous reviews and went onto become a huge success. A Bengali magazine wrote that this film is a work that is meant to be studied by those who want to enter into the film industry.

Debaki Bose, a renowned Bengali director, told Shantaram that he has seen the movie about a dozen times to study every shot closely. He was so inspired by some of the techniques Shantaram employed that he was to use a fair share of them in his upcoming movie. Bose and Shantaram became very close friends and remained so for many years.

See in the attached picture below Shantaram engrossed reading a book during shooting break.

Details of songs from both versions follow starting in the next post…


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swarapriya
post Mar 10 2019, 06:15 PM
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Jalti Nishani (1932 - Hindi)

Neither the movie version nor the songs from this film were available for me to share. There are 15 songs in the film. They are listed in the table below. I am requesting fellow Forum members to share them with rest of us if they have any. Thank you.


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swarapriya
post Mar 10 2019, 06:20 PM
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Agnikankan (1932 - Marathi)

I am uploading all songs here at a lower bit rate because of the poor quality of the audio. Here are songs in the first post…


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Attached File  Jai_Jai_Maha_Veera.rar ( 3.73 MB ) Number of hits: 1 by members
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swarapriya
post Mar 10 2019, 06:25 PM
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Concluding Songs from "Agnikankan (1932 - Marathi)"...

Here are the rest of the songs from this film...


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Attached File  Asa_Sarva_Bhoovari.rar ( 247.66 k ) Number of hits: 1 by members
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Attached File  Phulti_Kadhi_Kalika.rar ( 2.03 MB ) Number of hits: 1 by members
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Nandu
post Mar 11 2019, 10:00 PM
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I had seen a few films on Door Darshan earlier. Great Director.
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swarapriya
post Mar 13 2019, 06:15 PM
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QUOTE(Nandu @ Mar 11 2019, 09:30 AM) *

I had seen a few films on Door Darshan earlier. Great Director.


Great indeed! Cheers.

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swarapriya
post Mar 17 2019, 06:30 PM
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Maya Machhindra (1932 - Hindi & Marathi)

This movie was directed by Shantaram. It was made simultaneously in Hindi and Marathi with the same name. Its English name was “Illusion”.

The Marathi version of this film in video format is available. But the Hindi version is not.

This movie dealt with the story of a man-hating women kingdom and the illusions of life as told through a relationship between a guru and his disciple. To disciple, it appears as if his guru married the queen of the kingdom and abandoned his commitment to celibacy. When the disciple investigated this it slowly dawned upon him that the entire experience was simply an illusion.

The subject material of the story called for special effects. Indeed, these were the highlights of this fantasy film. This in part contributed to the success of both versions of the film. To match special effects, the movie also boasted spectacular sets. That proved to be an additional attraction to the cine-goers.

Shantaram successfully experimented optical superimposition in this film where in one instance out of the sword animated sparks came out. In another scene the head of a beheaded person returns to the body and is attached again. Dance sequences were also staged in a grand scale; especially “Vasantotsav”. There was also an elaborate fireworks display picturized that exemplified the cheerful mood of the festivities.

The movie was the first one to release its songs on records, a new technology introduced a couple of years ago but filmmakers shied away until this film. Prabhat Films Company was able to make additional money off these records also as the songs of the film became very popular.

A note about the music director of this film, Govindrao Tembe. As a young man he was fond of harmonium music. He self-taught how to play that instrument. This led him to learn to sing and move in the circles who were familiar with singing and playing instruments. He composed music for Hindi and Marathi films. He wrote lyrics. He also sang them. He was the first one to give music to the first Marathi talkie, “Ayodhyecha Raja” released in this very same year, 1932. In the movie world he worked as an actor, director, editor, producer, singer, and writer. He is now considered to be one of the greatest harmonium players and talented persons.

The songs start in the next post…


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swarapriya
post Mar 17 2019, 06:37 PM
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Maya Machhindra (1932 - Hindi)

The Hindi version of this film in video format is not available. Except for one song I do not have any further information about the rest of the songs. I am requesting fellow Forum members to share any songs they may have. Thank you.

Here is the only song and a couple of instrumentals I have…

This post has been edited by swarapriya: Mar 17 2019, 06:38 PM


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swarapriya
post Mar 17 2019, 06:43 PM
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Maya Machhindra (1932 - Marathi)

I am uploading all songs from this Marathi film in three back-to-back posts. Here are the songs starting in this post…


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Attached File  Madho_Nasta_Chatkaal.rar ( 2.44 MB ) Number of hits: 1 by members
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Attached File  Title_Music.rar ( 2.37 MB ) Number of hits: 1 by members
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swarapriya
post Mar 17 2019, 06:48 PM
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Continuing Songs from "Maya Machhindra (1932 - Marathi)"...

Here are more songs from this film...


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