Prabhakar remembers

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Before forming the Hindusthan Film Company, Dadasaheb went from one town to the another, taking with him seven or eight persons, a projector and the films Raja Harishchandra, Mohini Bhasmasur and Satyavan Savitri. When he was once in Gwalior, Balasaheb Pant Pratinidhi was camping there. In Raja Harishchandra, there is a scene in which Taramati arrives in a palanquin and after the palanquin is placed on the ground, the bearers go away crossing the pole of the palanquin. Pant Pratinidhi advised in this regard,'One must not cross the pole like this. One must go around it'. Dada's cameraman worked also as a sweeper and a cook. Everyone could do any job. When Lankadahan was under production, Dada only had nine persons with him. The boys from the gymnasium would be happy when they got jalebis to eat after the day's shooting.Many persons who trained under Dada became adept in many things. He created a long line of student followers, as it were. A student of Dada could easily get a job in other film companies. Illiterate Anna Salunke who was trained for Taramati's role, could later handle a Bell and Howell camera. Dattopant Dabke, who did the rold of Harishchandra, later made a name as Jagdish Film Company's cameraman. Nashik, which was famous as a place of priests and pilgrimage, became an important centre of film production after Dada moved in there. The priests of Nashik were moneyed men who formed Godavari Cinetone at Nashik in 1935. The great poet Kusumagraj wrote the story of their film Sulochana. ...

Dada gave the utmost importance to photography. He never liked the photography of other Indian films. However, he liked the photography of Baburao Painter's Sinhgad so much that he would urge others to see it. He showed the foreign film Velvet Finger to his colleagues again and again for its photography and explained to them its hight points.

Although Dada's partners and colleagues were good men, he never could carry on with any of them. On falling foul of his partners, he went to Kashi. About a year or six months before that, he stayed at home. After his contract with Hindustan Film Company expired, he started production of a silent film, Setubandhan. At that time a talkie, Love Parade, was on at the Empress. Even with the knowledge that Marathi talkies would soon make their appearance, production of Setubandhan was proceeding at snail's pace. When Dada left Hindusthan Film Company, they gave hi a sum of fifteen thousand rupees as a token of gratitude, for the reason that his films brought money to the company.

After achieving fame in the field of cinema, Dada must have thought that he should do something in the field of drama, that he could do someting outstanding in that field too. Realising that the technique of writing a play was different, that it is a literary form, he invited N.H.Apte. However, he did not approve of Apte's writing. The hero of the play, Sangeetrao, was Dada himself. The heroine was Madhuri. The others gang up against him and he becomes unpopular. They make it difficult for him to make a living. However, his fortune takes a turn for the better and then everyone makes up with him with folded hands. This was, in short, the plot of the Rangabhoomi play. The central idea of the play was good. Apte had written a good script, but Dada spoiled it, while doing the role of Sangeetrao, by straying off the subject, and by being repititive. He did not agree that much of the text was irrelevant.

The following recollecting pertains to the year 1943 after Dada suffered from amnesia. He found a handkerchief in the house. As it was worn out, I wanted to throw it away. He said, " This frayed handkerchief is good for cleaning lenses He would ask mother at any time whether the meal was ready. After his amnesia improved, I once held before him a page of the Illustrated Weekly of India. There was a photograph on it of two tribals. He loudly read its title, 'Naga Warriors of Assam'.

In August 1914, Dada went to Europe by an Australian ship. As the First World War was on and it was not a warship, the British captured it. Two cannonballs had hit the ship. A white flag was flown. All the passengers were off loaded at Alexnadria, which was nearby. Dada remained there for two months. He provided for his daily needs by doing paintings. After a few days, he sent a telegram home and when Babarai sent him money, he continued his journey onward.

After Dada left Hindusthan film company, other companies invited him, but he notoreity of his peculiar behaviour had spread in the film industry. As a result, he lost the opportunity of being the director of Sant Tulsidas of Ranjit Movietone,which was a slot earmarked for him. Vishnupant Pagnis, who did the role of Tulsidas, suggested to Chandulal Shah, Baburao Painter's name. Pagnis himself told Dada about it. It is a different matter that ultimately the movie was directed by Jayant Desai.

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