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1972 175’[Mar]/186’[H] col Marathi/Hindi? d/p V. Shantaram pc V. Shantaram Prod. s Anant Mane dial Shankar Patil lyr Jagdish Khebudkar c Shivaji Sawant m Ram Kadam lp Sandhya, Shriram Lagoo, Nilu Phule, Vatsala Deshmukh, Govind Kulkarni, Manikraj, Krishnakant Dalvi, Sarla Yevlekar

Shantaram’s remake of Sternberg’s Der blaue Engel (1930) is a belated homage to his German neo-expressionist influences. He set the story in the popular (esp. in scenarist Mane’s own films) Marathi genre of the Tamasha musical. The upright teacher (Shriram Lagoo), vehemently opposed to what he considers degenerate entertainment, is seduced by a Tamasha actress (Sandhya). The two fall in love, forcing the teacher to change his identity. In his new guise he ends up being accused, and sentenced to death, for having murdered the teacher, i.e. himself. Known mainly for its numerous hit songs, the film uninhibitedly rehearses the emphatic symbologies of Shantaram’s early days. Ironically, the film also chronicles Shantaram’s own dissolution as a film-maker closely linked to the formal misery of contemporary Marathi cinema, performing lok-natya music to garish colour and Sandhya’s actorial contortions. This is the film debut of Dr Lagoo, who was making a big impact at the time on the Marathi stage with his highly charged naturalist style.