Master Vitthal

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Master Vithal (?-1969) Best-known Marathi and Hindi film stunt star. Stage debut at the Rajapurkar Natak Mandali. Worked as editor at Maharashtra Film, a studio with a reputation for stunts in their mythologicals. Vithal started playing a dancing girl in Kalyan Khajina. Acted in Bhalji Pendharkar silents before breaking through at the Sharda Studio. He was its top star for several years, usually playing Douglas Fairbanks-type roles grafted onto indigenous Rajput and Maratha legends. Bhogilal Dave’s special effects accompanied his work, along with the rapid editing of directors like A P Kapur, Nanubhai Desai, Harshadrai Mehta , Luhar etc. The style Vithal helped shape had a tremendous impact, making the Sharda Studio synonymous with low-budget stunt films in the silent era. Wadia Movietone later tried to redefine the stunt genre with direct reference to the Niblo/Fairbanks figure of Zorro to distance the genre from Vithal. Apart from Alam Ara, Vithal also starred in Sagar and other Saraswati studio production, ending his career in the 60s, playing minor parts in Marathi films.

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