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Today’s the birth anniversary of Dada Kondke - the most famous name in Marathi film industry in the 70s and early 80s. His name polarises the Marathi viewer, with the elite feeling the industry got spoiled forever after his double entendre-littered comedies (somewhat like what some feel about the ‘angry young man’ phenomenon by Manmohan Desai and Prakash Mehra).
But then, a phenomenon is never understood without the context. Dada came from the world of Lok Natya (folk play) and Tamasha. He was already a big name when he got into cinema. And his image was established. Also, the populace was looking for something to move on from the idealist environment of the 50s and 60s. Naturally he clicked. And boy, was he good at his art! An all-in-one man, he wrote dialogues and lyrics, directed, acted in and produced his films. He was also an intelligent fellow who scouted out a set of co-actors, musicians, singers etc that fit like a bill and stuck to them.
Dada Kondke was also socially and politically active. But his work and achievements in the film world (including Guinness world record for highest number of silver jubilee films - nine) are enough to cement him a position among the Marathi minds forever.
I did watch some of his films back then, and liked ‘Ekta Jeev Sadashiv’ the most. Ironically, this comedy was the only that got me into tears among all the films I watched till my youth. And I attribute that to Dada’s acting prowess.
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