NFAI acquires Mahapurush Dr Ambedkar, rare 1968 Marathi short film that portrays Babasaheb's faith, later life

The film was originally made in 35 mm format but what we have found is a 16 mm copy, probably meant for distribution in rural areas, said Prakash Magdum, Director, NFAI.

Press Trust of India April 14, 2021 23:14:36 IST
NFAI acquires Mahapurush Dr Ambedkar, rare 1968 Marathi short film that portrays Babasaheb's faith, later life

BR Ambedkar. Wikimedia Commons

A rare Marathi short film made on Babasaheb Ambedkar in 1968 has been acquired by the National Film Archive of India, an official statement said on Tuesday.

The film titled Mahapurush Dr Ambedkar was produced by the Director of Publicity, Government of Maharashtra in July 1968, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting ministry said.

Veteran film artiste David Abraham was the narrator for the film.

Directed by Namdeo Vatkar under the banner of Vathkar Productions, the music for the 18-minute short film was composed by renowned composer Datta Davajekar.

Namdeo Vatkar was a veteran actor and director in Marathi film industry who wrote and directed films like Aaher featuring Sulochana in 1957 and Mulga featuring Hansa Wadkar in 1956. Vatkar also wrote the story of Ram Gabale film Ghardhani along with PL Deshpande in 1952.

It is a very timely discovery, the film on Dr BR Ambedkar, when we are celebrating the 130th birth anniversary of the key architect of the Indian Constitution on 14 April. The short film fictionalises the key events of Dr Ambedkar's life and it also has live footage of his later years, said Prakash Magdum, Director, NFAI.

The film has the visuals of Ambedkar embracing the Buddhist religion and his visit to Nepal along with close-up shots of his funeral procession at Dadar Chowpaty in Mumbai.

The film was originally made in 35 mm format but what we have found is a 16 mm copy, probably meant for distribution in rural areas. The condition of the film is moderate and we plan to digitise it soon so that it can be accessed by people, said Magdum.

We appeal to individual collectors and distributors along with others to come forward and submit films or footage at NFAI so that it can be preserved," he said.

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