Jabbar Patel

A paediatrician by profession, Jabbar Patel founded the best-known Marathi experimental theatre group, 'Theatre Academy'. Their works include the landmark stage production of Vijay Tendulkar's play Ghashiram Kotwal (1972) and also the adaptation of Brecht's Threepenny Opera (Teen Paishacha Tamasha, 1974) to the stage in Marathi. His films, often scripted by Vijay Tendulkar rely on topical political references and theatrical acting styles.







Notable Films:

Saamna - 1975 - Marathi
(Confrontation)

Vijay Tendulkar's first independent Marathi script and Jabbar Patel's debut is set in Maharashtra's notorious sugar co-operatives, the power base of the states Congress Party. In his best-known screen role the noted Marathi stage and film actor Phule plays Hindurao Dhonde Patil with the familiar body language of the arrogantly corrupt politician secure in his power. He covers up an incident involving the military office Maruti Kamble until a mystic hobo, a former schoolteacher, amateur magician and drunkard challenges the politician's might.

Direction: Jabbar Patel
Screenplay: Vijay Tendulkar
Cast: Shriram Lagoo, Nilu Phule, Mohan Agashe, Vilas Rakate, Smita Patil
Cinematography: Suryakant Lavande
Music: Bhaskar Chandavarkar



Sinhasan - 1979 - Marathi
(The Throne)

A film that sets out to elaborate a new genre derived from the language of political journalism. Based on two novels by the noted political correspondent Arun Sadhu and scripted by a former journalist, Vijay Tendulkar, the plot addresses Maharashtra's political corruption linked with Bombay's entrepreneurial sector. The main protagonist is a newspaper correspondent, Digu Tipnis, who uncovers a network of telephone tapping and espionage, relations between trade union leaders and politicians etc., while many of the characters of the film were thinly-veiled references to real-life figures. In the end, the journalist appears to go crazy.

Direction: Jabbar Patel
Screenplay: Vijay Tendulkar
Cast: Arun Sarnaik, Nilu Phule, Shriram Lagoo, Nana Patekar
Cinematography: Suryakant Lavande
Music: Hridayanath Mangeshkar



Umbartha - 1981 - Marathi
(Threshold)

Sulabha, the wife of Subhash, a lawyer is upset by her husband's willingness to blacken the name of a rape victim in order to benefit his client, accused of committing the rape. She decides to take charge of a Mahilashram (women's home). There she has to contend with the gross corruption and greed which further exploits and victimises the women in her care. The governors of the institution eventually make life so difficult for Sulabha that she has to resign. When she returns home, her husband informs her that he has taken a mistress and intends to keep her. Sulbha leaves her home determined to make a life for herself.

Based on an autobiographical work by Shanta Nisal, the film was given a feminist value by Smita Patil's performance and by her use of the film in campaigns for women's rights.

Direction: Jabbar Patel
Screenplay: Vijay Tendulkar
Cast: Smita Patil, Girish Karnad, Shrikant Moghe
Cinematography: Rajan Kinagi
Music: Hridayanath Mangeshkar



Ek Hota Vidushak - 1992 - Marathi
(Once there was a clone)

Aburao, the well known 'Songadya' - a clown from the world of 'Tamasha' (a form of folk theatre) - is known for his satirical caustic humour - directed particularly to those in power. His humour is traceable to the humiliation he has suffered as a bastard child of a 'Tamasha' artiste and exposed to the cruel world of deceit, poverty and power play. He leaves the 'Tamasha' world cashing in on the opportunity to enter the glittering world of cinema, bewitched by the beautiful actress Menaka who loves him as a 'Songadya'. In the process he betrays his beloved 'Subadra' who is pregnant from him. Aburao's school mate, Gunwant, who had drifted into politics has now become Chief Minister. Gunwant with his political shrewdness realises that he can use the popularity of his actor-clown friend Aburao to his advantage.

The initially unwilling Aburao soon finds himself a willing accomplice in the power game until he is confronted by his mentor who reminds him of his roots and the genesis of his rise to stardom. His confrontation with his daughter 'Jai' from Subadra who he had betrayed, and his failure to make her smile when the whole world is amused with his humour finally leads him to pursue more earthy simple and forgotten desires like happiness both his and hers.

Direction: Jabbar Patel
Screenplay: P.L.Deshpande
Cast: Laxmikant Berde, Madhu Kambikar, Varsha Usgaonkar, Dilip Prabhawalkar, Usha Naik,Pooja Pawar, Mohan Agashe, Neelu Phule
Cinematography: Harish Joshi
Editing: Anil Vishwas
Music: Anand Modak



Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar - 1998 - English

The caste system in India had virtually ensured over a period of time, the segregation and social ostracisation of the dalits. Dr. Ambedkar fought tremendous odds and rose to be author of the Indian Constitution that abolished these discriminatory practices. The film is about this period of turnmoil, of toil and tears and the struggle that led to a change in the lives of the people born in bondage. But before all that was achieved, he had to confront orthodox Hindu Society, the British Empire and even the Mahatma.

Direction: Jabbar Patel
Cast: Mammootty, Mohan Gokhale, Arun Sadhu, Daya Pawar
Cinematography: Ashok Mehta
Editor: Vijay Kochikar
Music: Anand Modak



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