wiki:Vishnupant Pagnis

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Vishnupant Pagnis (1892-1943)

Professional actor on the Marathi Sangeet Natak from the age of 10; part of Kolhapur’s Swadeshi Hitchantak Natak Mandali where he played the female roles of Sharada and Shakuntala in command performances for the Shahu Maharaj. Appeared in some silent Maharashtra Film movies but became known for his female roles in Mama Warerkar’s first play, Kunjvihari (1908), and in Tembe’s Shivraj Natak where he played the heroine in the Hindi version of Siddhasansar. His style is said to have been strongly influenced by the Gujarati actor of female roles, Jaishankar Sundari. He became a music teacher in a municipal school when his stage career flagged and was a last-minute casting decision in the lead of Sant Tukaram (1936). Apparently remained under the spell of the great saint-poet whom he played. Was thereafter in some demand as a keertan singer. He did four more films, all in the Saint films genre, with Jayant Desai and Vjay Bhatt. Functioned as music director for Sant Janabai (1938). His performance as Tukaram has become a major reference-point in debates about Indian performance idioms: e.g. Kumar Shahani’s essay The Saint Poets of Prabhat, 1981; Geeta Kapur’s Mythic Material in Indian Cinema, 1987.

FILMOGRAPHY (* also music d): 1921: Surekha Haran; 1924: Poona Raided; 1936: Sant Tukaram; 1938: Sant Janabai (music d only); 1939: Sant Tulsidas*; 1940: Narsi Bhagat; 1943: Mahatma Vidur; Bhakta Raaj.