wiki:Baburao Painter

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Baburao Painter (1890-1954)

Marathi-Hindi director born Baburao Krishnarao Mestri in Kolhapur, into family of traditional craftsmen. Taught himself to paint (hence his name) and sculpt in academic artschool style. He and his artist cousin Anandrao Painter were, between 1910 and 1916, the leading painters of stage backdrops in Western India, doing several famous curtains for Sangeet Natak troupes (esp. Bal Gandharva and Tembe’s companies) but also for Gujarati Parsee theatre. Became avid filmgoers after seeing Raja Harishchandra (1913). Perceiving its theatrical limitations, they turned to cinema, first as exhibitors (Shivaji theatre, Kolhapur) while trying to assemble their own camera. Anandrao died in 1916. Baburao and his main disciple, Damle, eventually put together a working camera in 1918. With financial support from local nobility, started Maharashtra Film with Seeta Swayamvar, although that film was later abandoned. Remained head of studio until 1932, launching many talented cineastes, including the group that later left to set up Prabhat: Damle, Fattelal and Shantaram. Resigned following Lanka, producing Prem Sangam for Anand Pics. Later ran Shalini Cinetone (1932-8). Then occasional freelance director (e.g. Lokshahir Ramjoshi on Shantaram’s invitation, although Shantaram finished the film himself). Added a Marathi soundtrack to his Prem Sangam and re-released it in 1934 as his first sound film. Practised cinema as a continuation of earlier craft traditions, seen as a contribution to Swadeshi, legitimated by nationalist leader B.G. Tilak’s public commendation of his achievements (1918). Developed sophisticated art direction and shooting techniques, e.g. the use of backdrops in red and yellow to register the right shades of grey on film, the manufacture of primitive filters with tinted glass, the first use of indoor electric lighting with generators, use of fades, etc. Also used costume design and art direction to relate to characters’ spaces, reserving elaborate sets and design for fantasy films. Helped codify the mythological and founded the social (Savkari Pash) and the historical (Sinhagad, Baji Prabhu Deshpande) as film genres.

FILMOGRAPHY: 1919: Congress Session in Bombay (Doc); 1920: Sairandhri; 1921: Surekha Haran; 1922: Bhagwata Bhakta Damaji; 1923: Sinhagad; Shri Krishna Aavtar; 1924: Sati Padmini; Kalyan Khajina; 1925: Shahala Shah; Rana Hamir; Maya Bazaar; Savkari Pash; 1926: Gaja Gauri; Bhakta Prahlad; 1927: Muraliwala; Sati Savitri; 1929: Baji Prabhu Deshpande; 1930: Lanka; 1932: Prem Sangam (all St); 1935: Usha; 1936: Savkari Pash; 1937: Pratibha; Sadhvi Meerabai; 1946: Rukmini Swayamvar; 1947: Lokshahir Ramjoshi/ Matwala Shayar Ramjoshi; 1952: Vishwamitra; 1953: Mahajan.