Sardar Bai

From PhalkeFactory

Shrimati Sardar Bai, remembers Baburao Painter

Giften actress. Acted in Baburao Painter's Saavkari Paash.

If I ever decide to write about my life, there will be very little in it about me, and maybe almost nothing. That is because most of the pages would be occupied by Kalamaharishi Baburao Painter because of whom I was seen on the silver screen. There would be nothing about me in it. People would probabl attribute this to an inordinate degree of love and respect for my guru, whom I revered as my father. But why should I bother about the opinions of others? If i were to write about him, I would be included in it, just as a kangaroos baby is in the pouch.

I must turn my thoughts to the year 1933-34. At the fag end of the era of silent cinema, Baburao Painter and Bal Gajbar wre loooking for a young girl. As chance would have it, they found me. They took me to a studio. Seeing the atmosphere in the studio, I was astonished. I must have been 16 or 17 at the time. Shri bal Gajbar painted my face and took a photograph of me. At that time, I became very nervous. Everything was new to me, I had come newly come to Kohlapur from my village, Jogul. In those days, working in a film was considered a great sin. Several people warned me "If you act in a film, no one will let you into their house. No one will talk to you". Being very young, I thought all this to be true and I overnight refused the offer and returned to my village. But two or three months later, I returned to Kohlapur with an acute desire to act in films and I met Baburao. Scared because of the previous incident, I went to meet him at home and expressed my wish. At that time he joked " when i needed you, you ran away. And now you have come to us as a needy one yourself". At that time Baburao was involved in the production of the talkie Pratibha. And whether one attributes it to my good fortune or to any other reason, it was decided that another talkie film should be produced alongside Pratibha. This film was Savkari Pash, which aimed to depict the rural life of Maharashtra. I got my first role, that of the heroine, Tara, of this film. This film made me famour. This event is very important to me. It brought about a big in my life.

If one were to think of cinema as Shakuntala, then even though Dadasaheb was the Vishvamitra was gave birth to it, Kanvarishi who brought it up is non other thatn Baburao Painter. It was my good fortune to have acted my first role with such a great artists, and all the fame i acquired is only due to him.

After that ( Savkari Pash), I acted in the saundaryapradhan film, Pratibha. Compared to the first one, this role was very small. I had only one dance in it. But it was impressive enought to be always remembered by audiences. It is remembered not because of my talent but because of Baburao's artistic vision. Many people had tried to picturise the fance in a similar way, but none had succeeded. To this day I have not seen anything lik it.

Baburao spoke very little and what he said was understood by very few people.

At that time, the group that was always around him included Keshavrao Date, Aundhkar and others. Whatever he has to say, he would say within their circle (?) He would address all women in the respectful plural, irrespective of their age. He was always struggling to train new artistes. In Savkari Paash, Baburao introduced several stalwarts of the present day( 1970's?), such as Chandrakant, Raja Paranjape, Danve, Jog and Vasant Thengdi. He was very industrious. He was never seen to be free/idle at any time. He made me pose as a model for his paintings. i was the model for the famous painting of Saraswati. I am very proud of this fact.

Baburao had a lot of personality. Acting and modelling for him gave me the oppurtunity of spending time aroudn him. But I never had the courage to speak to him.

Recently he made his last talkie "Vishwamitra". Even in this film, he gave me a role, that of a Maharani. I was astonished that even now, he worked with the same enthusiasm as before. Even at the age of 60, he worked with the energy of the youngest of the young. After the shooting was over, he would go home and work on the statue of Gandhiji that he was making. Such a great, ever-industrious artist has left us.