Amol Palekar

Amol Palekar was born in Bombay, where he attended the J J School of Art. He started with the Marathi experimental stage with Satyadev Dubey and later started his own group 'Aniket' set up in 1972. He introduced theatre of the absurd in Maharashtra and a street theatre-inspired practice of performing plays in the round. In 1974 he was cast as an actor by Basu Chatterjee in Rajanigandha, which lead to many parts in middle-class comedies. He became a director with the Marathi film Aakriet.

Selected Filmography:

Aakriet - 1981 - Marathi
(The Misbegotten)

Amol Palekar's directorial debut is based on a series of brutal ritual murders among tribals in Manwat, Maharashtra.

The central characters are the corroupt Mukutrao Shinde, an influential trader and his mistress Ruhi. The middle aged Ruhi, desperate to consolidate her hold on her husband, wants to become pregnant and initiates the ritual murders of five young virgins to facilitate the desired event. The greedy Mukutrao's hope to become rich on completion of the ritual stifles his fear of being caught.

Direction: Amol Palekar
Screenplay: Vijay Tendulkar
Cast: Amol Palekar, Chitra Palekar, Rekha Sabnis, Dilip Kulkarni
Cinematography: S D Deodhar
Music: Bhaskar

Ankahee - 1984 - Hindi
(The Unspoken)

Nandu's father is an astrologer who stoically lives with the knowledge that his predictions mostly come true. Nandu resents his father's fatalistic attitude and rebels when his father predicts that Nandu's first wife will die in childbirth, which puts a damper on Nandu's marriage plans with Sushma, a rational woman prepared to take the risk. Instead, Nandu marries the retarded but curable Indu, hoping to circumvent his father's prediction. Indu is taken to hospital to give birth and she survives, but Sushma commits suicide to assert her right to determine her own destiny.

Direction: Amol Palekar
Screenplay: Jayant Dharmadhikari, Vasu Bhagat
Cast: Amol Palekar, Deepti Naval, Shriram Lagoo, Anil Chatterjee, Dina Pathak
Cinematography: Debu Deodhar
Music: Jaidev

Bangarwadi - 1995 - Marathi

Set in 1939 in the formerly princely state of Aundh, a young school teacher is posted to the village of Bangarwadi, noted for its 'criminal' tribe of Ramoshis and its perennial drought problems. The teacher introduces modernity via a school as well as concepts such as the values of education and communal harmony. However the draught strikes and the villagers leave, but the school teacher stays behind.

Direction & Co-Screenplay: Amol Palekar
Co-Screenplay: Vyankatesh Madgulkar
Cast: Chandrakant Mandhre, Adhishree Atre, Sushma Deshpande, Chandrakant Kulkarni
Cinematography: Debu Deodhar
Music: Vanraj Bhatia

Daayraa - 1997 -
(The Square Circle)

A man trained to perform as a woman in musical drama becomes obsolete, replaced by the real thing. The handsome, wandering transvestite joins up with an innocent country girl on the run from some louts pursuing her for brothel work. After a brutal rape, the young woman disguises herself as a boy. This cross-dressing odd couple provide tragicomic insight into the knotty matters of sexual passion and gender stereotyping.

Direction & Co-Screenplay: Amol Palekar
Co-Screenplay: Timeri N Murari, Chitra Palekar, Shashank Shanker
Cinematography: Debu Deodhar
Music: Anand Milind

Kairee- 1999
(The Raw Mango)

A ten-year-old girl is brought to her maternal aunt's house after the loss of her parents. Uprooted from a refined, loving home and placed in an unknown world, she struggles to cope with hostilities in her new environment. Her aunt, Taanimausi, lives a barren existence with a brute for a husband and tries single-handedly to preserve the child's innocence and sensitivity as they face the unpleasantness and vulgarity of the adult world.

Kairee is based on a renowned Marathi short story by G.A. Kulkarni, one of the most significant contemporary Indian writers.

Direction & Co-Screenplay: Amol Palekar
Co-Screenplay: Chitra Palekar
Cast: Shilpa Navalkar,Yogita Deshmukh, Leena Bhagwat, Atul Kulkarni, Mohan Gokhale, Sonali Kulkarni
Cinematography: Debu Deodhar
Editing: Waman Bhosale
Music: Bhaskar Chandavarkar

Anaahat - 2003 - Marathi

The story of Anaahat unfolds in 10th century B.C., in the ancient capital city of the Malla kingdom - Shravasti. The King of Malla and his Queen Sheelavathi are happily married and living in their peaceful and flourishing kingdom. The only blemish on the horizon is that there is no heir to the kingdom. While this does not seem to concern the royal couple, the members of the King's senate are concerned by what they refer to as King's 'ailment'. They take a decision to perform the custom of Niyog for welfare of Malla. Niyoga was a practice that was prevalent in India during the Vedic era when a mate was selected for a married woman whose husband was incapable of conception because of an ailment or impotency. As the Rajpurohit tells us: 'Seniors' command to have an heir, selection of a mate for that purpose, and intercourse with a sense of duty - are preconditions of Niyog.' This decision of the Senate reverberates through the hearts of the royal couple. Anaahat is a story of the King's emotional turmoil- his struggle between love and duty - and the Queen's painful yet beautifully growing awareness of herself as a wife and a woman and her choices as an individual.

Direction: Amol Palekar
Screenplay: Samir Kulkarni, Sandhya Gokhale
Cast: Anant Nag, Sonali Bendre, Deepti Naval
Cinematography: Debu Deodhar
Editing: Zafar Sultan
Music: Sandhya Gokhale

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