U.R Athavale

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Dr. Vishvanthrao Athavale.

In 1924, I happened to marry Dadasaheb’s eldest daughter Mandakini. He had a car at the time. Although I dressed in western style, Dadasaheb insisted that his son-in-law must arrive for the wedding on horseback and I complied with his wishes. Everyone knew he was hot-headed, but he was loving too. When I first went to him after becoming a doctor, he had a swelling behind one of his ears. Other doctors were of the opinion that it was a tumour that needed surgery. Dadasaheb said, ‘ My son-in-law is a doctor. He name is Vishvanath (Lord of the universe). Triambakeshwar’s name is also Vishvanath. I want him to treat him.” Surprisingly, the swelling disappeared by a simple ointment like Iodex.

Dadasaheb was quite negligient about his family life. He was in pursuit of an ideal like an ascetic, because of which he did not know what was going on in the house. His achievements in the field of cinema are well known, but one more aspect of his artistic nature was that he made excellent enamel plates. He had once been awarded a prize at the hands of Vishweswarayya in an industrial exhibition. He had made a name plate for me, which was fixed on the door of our house in Nashik. He had at that time received orders from the Western and Central Railways for making name- plates for railway stations. Buying tin sheets, he had worked on them too. He had also made name- plates for the roads in Nasik. Although Dadasaheb was queer and impractical, I always felt respect for him.

Excerpted from Bapu Vatve’s Dadasaheb Phalke published by the National Book Trust.

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