Anandrao Painter

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The brothers lived near Khol Khandoba area in Kolhapur. Staying nearby – childhood friends, Shripatrao Kakde, a tailor and Keshavrao Bhosale, a famous singer-stage actor of the time. At the age of 18, Bhosale started his own Lalitkala, theatre company and this caused a minor revolution in the brothers' baburao and Anadrao's lives. Once when Bhosale refused to allow Anandrao to paint the set curtains for his plays, saying, you will not be able to manage them, Anandrao held a bet with him and painted set curtains.

In 1909-10, Anandrao accompanies his father to Bombay and gets introduced to photography. He also sees foreign silent films and the seed to make such films takes root in Anandrao's mind. He sets up a photography studio in Madhavbag with Baburao and at the same time starts getting all the information about the developing and processing of film. Around this time, Vishnu Govind Damle comes to learn painting from Anandrao and becomes his disciple.

While working on the sets in Lalit Kala, Anandrao meets Shankarrao Vashikar and they develop the idea of starting a film theatre in Kolhapur, to first learn about creating films. Deccan Cinema starts in Kolhapur as a result. But because Vashikar refuses to give capital for starting a film studio, Anandrao separates from the Deccan cinema in 1913.

While working on the set of Rakshasi Mahatakansha, Anandrao meets Baburao Ruikar at the tailoring shop of Shripat Kakde. Promising to think about studio later, Ruikar agrees to fund another theatre and Maharashtra Cinema comes into being in 1913. In 1913, also Anandrao travels to Mumbai and sees Phalke's raja Harishchandra and in disappointed in the film as it has men playing the female roles. Anandrao starts thinking about his films which will have women playing women's roles. Anandrao brings Phalke's Raja H, Bhasmasur Mohini, Satyavan Savitri to show in Mahashtra cinema. Shahu Maharaj comments on the decoartions for Mahrashtra studio saying, "Anandrao, why all this decoration? your films are seen in the darkness!" Anandrao takes this up as a challenge and is determined to see his sets ont he screen. The advantage of Maharashtra cinema is that he can study Phalke's technique. The first world war starts and it becomes difficult to get cameras in the market. Anandrao manges to get a broken Williamson camera from Bombay. The brothers study its making, repair it and expose some film. they learn to develop film and take a print.

But this camera is small and Anandrao decides to make a camera on his own. It is only by 1918 that Baburao manages to make a camera fit for film production – this is wooden box, but has arrangements for direct focus, seen in modern cameras. Anandrao, however dies in 1915. By this time both the brothers have already fallen apart with Ruikar and the Mahrashtra Cinema. The history of the next 13 years of cinema in Kolhapur is possible only because of Baburao painter. Anandrao was very inventive, and a sharp experimenter. A worker in the theatre company, in which he worked remembers that when Anandrao had asked a friend for his fiddle, and the friend had refused, an incensed Anandrao shouted that he would make his own fiddle, which he did succeed in making in the next 15 days. His set curtains were not only effective, they also lasted long. He had created a revolution in the set curtains for plays in those days, blending realistic proportions and fantasy; whereas set curtains in those times had three storey buildings at the height of the character.

While he died young, Anandrao had created three artists, Baburao, Damle and Fattelel. Baburao's own way of painting was not to paint with a brush. He emptied cups of paint on the cloth and just gave them definitions with his brush. He took over Anandrao's position of the patriach after his death. Govindrao Tembhe, who worked with the Gandharva company, remembers in his autobiography, "Majha Jeevanvihar": There was a scene with a tent in Manapman. Whereas others had done it with a roof and a tent on the stage, Baburao used just one-tenth of the tent to show its height had created the granduer of the senapti's tent. During the show of the play, the first claps would go to this set of Baburao. .....Baburao had a fiddle he used to play to get rid of the exhaustion of painting. It was not unusual to see Fattelal, Dharmadhikari painting the set and Baburao strolling nearby playing his fiddle. .....

painted backdrops



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