Marathi cinema

Ayodhyecha Raja (1932), the first Marathi film, was made by Prabhat Films

Marathi cinema (मराठी चित्रपट) refers to films produced in the Marathi language in the state of Maharashtra, India. It is the oldest and pioneer film industry in India. The first film in India was a silent film called Raja Harishchandra (1913), which was made in Marathi by a legendary marathi, Dadasaheb Phalke and a Marathi crew who were performing Marathi & Sanskrit Sangeet natikas (musicals) and plays in marathi at that period. The first Marathi talkie film, Ayodhyecha Raja[1] (produced by Prabhat Films) was released in 1932, just one year after "Alam Ara" the first Hindi talkie film. Marathi cinema has grown in recent years. The industry is based in Mumbai, Maharashtra.



Silent movies period

Raja Harishchandra

Marathi Cinema is the oldest form of Indian cinema. Dadasaheb Phalke is known as the first pioneer and founder of cinema in Pre-Independence India. He brought the revolution of moving images to India with his first indigenously made film Raja Harishchandra in 1913, which is considered by IFFI & NIFD as part of Marathi cinema as it was made by a Marathi dialogues while shooting and fully marathi crew.[2] Kolhapur in Western Maharashtra was another centre of active film production in the twenties. In 1919 Baburao Mistry - popularly known as Baburao Painter formed the Maharashtra Film Company with the blessings of the Maharaja of Kolhapur and released the first significant historical - Sairandhari (1920) with Balasheb Pawar, Kamala Devi and Zunzarrao Pawar in stellar roles. Because of his special interest in sets, costumes, design and painting, he chose episodes from Maratha history for interpreting in the new medium and specialised in the historical genre.[3]. Baburao Painter made many silent movies till 1930 however after a few more silent films, the Maharashtra Film Company pulled down its shutters with the advent of sound. Baburao was not particularly keen on the talkies for he believed that they would destroy the visual culture so painfully evolved over the years.[4]

After advent of Sound

As cinema grew in Union of India, major production houses rose and one of them was again a company owned wholly by Maharashtrians, the Prabhat Film Company. Prabhat's Sant Tukaram was the first Indian film to win the Best Film Award at the Venice film festival in 1937.[5] In 1954 at the very first edition of the National Awards, Shyamchi Aai another Marathi film, won the first President's Gold Medal for Cinema. The film was directed by Acharya P K Atre, and it was an adaptation of the eponymous novel by Sane Guruji.[6]

The Golden era

Marathi Cinema was in its full bloom by this time with the advent of greats like V. Shantaram, Master Vinayak, Bhalji Pendharkar, Acharya Atre, followed by Raja Paranjpe, Dinkar D Patil, G. D. Madgulkar, Sudhir Phadke. The 60s saw the emergence of directors like Anant Mane who made Marathi films based on the folk art form Tamasha. Then came directors like Datta Dharmadhikari and Raj Dutt who made traditional family dramas. The early 70s saw the advent of Dada Kondke who captured the audiences with his sense of humour. He later went on to create satirical, pun-ridden films often including social and political commentary, many of which became cult classics. By this time Marathi Cinema was caught in either the Tamasha genre or tragedies revolving around traditional family dramas on one side and the comedies of Dada Kondke.


The 80s saw two comedy heroes catapult to stardom, Ashok Saraf and Laxmikant Berde. Around the mid 80s two young actors, donned the director's mantle: Mahesh Kothare and Sachin Pilgaonkar. Pilgaonkar directed Navri Mile Navryala and around the same time Mahesh Kothare directed Dhumdhadaka. Pilgaonkar's film was a box-office hit while Mahesh Kothare's film not only became a mega hit at the box-office but it also became a trend-setter and brought young audiences to Marathi Cinema. Mahesh Kothare then went on to make comedy films which became major hits. He made the first Marathi film shot on the anamorphic format (Cinemascope) - Dhadakebaaz. He brought a number of innovations in the technical quality of Marathi films and was also the first to bring Dolby Digital sound to Marathi Cinema with the film Chimni Pakhara. He made the first Marathi film with Digital Special Effects, Pachadlela in 2004.

Reasons for the decline of Marathi cinema

While the theatre of Maharashtra earned recognition at the national level, the cinema failed to make a mark. A major reason was the proximity to the production centre of Hindi cinema (Bollywood) which encroached on the identity of Marathi cinema. Other reasons include the shortage of cinema halls for distribution due to poor marketing, lack of money magnets, a vibrant theatre scene and the emergence of private television. It also lacked the powerful lobby at the national level unlike Bengali and South Indian cinema because state congress (ruling party over 40 Years) encouraged Hindi Cinema for profit mainly ; the regional film industrial advantage being soaked up by Bollywood.[6]

Revival of Marathi Cinema (Marathi New Wave)

In past few years, the Marathi cinema industry has produced many films that are not only critically acclaimed but commercially successful as well. It has brought fresh ideas, untouched subjects and deeper human sensitivity on the celluloid.

Acclaimed director Dr Jabbar Patel explains the reasons behind the change, “The kind of Marathi cinema that is being made today is very fresh and different. This is thanks to directors and writers getting exposed to world cinema via television, film festivals etc. They are coming up with new storylines and innovative concepts.”

Actor Mrunal Kulkarni remarks, “There is a lot of content and variety in Marathi films. A lot of bold subjects have been handled well by them. They carry a lot of substance.” But, she adds, “We need to start watching a lot more Marathi films. Until we see the films ourselves, we will never be able to appreciate them when they are sent to the Oscars.”

With outstanding contribution and efforts from different producers and directors of Mumbai Film Industry, Marathi cinema relatively outshined other Indian Film Industries such as Bollywood in the first quarter of 2010 in terms of box office collections and critical appreciation.[7]


Marathi Cinema received critical acclaim in the year 2004 with the film Shwaas bagging the Golden Lotus National Award[8]. It was also India's official entry to the 77th Academy Awards and it also won the President's medal for best film, beating Bollywood's prolific output with quality.[9] Shwaas, after Shyamchi Aai (1950) is only Marathi film to win the President's Medal.

The Maharashtra state government has begun to issue grants to Marathi film (between 1.5-3.0 million rupees). After the success of "Shwaas", Indian media players like Shringar Films and Zee Telefilms are exhibiting a re-emerging interest in Marathi cinema. The growing popularity of Marathi television (notably Zee Marathi and ETV Marathi) has also helped to popularize older Marathi cinema and promote the genre. Zee Talkies, a 24 hour channel dedicated to Marathi movies has been introduced. Movies like Aga bai areccha, Khabardar, Dombivali fast, Anaahat, Sarivar sari, Yanda kartavya aahe, Uttarayan, Tingya, "Saade Maade Teen", Valu - The Wild Bull, "SAAWALI", 'De Dhakka, Maati Maay, Kadachit, Me Shivajiraje Bhosale Boltoy/ मी शिवाजी राजे भोसले बोलतोय "SAAVARIYAA.COM", Samaantar, Rita, Restaurant, Nirop, Vihir, Vartul, Gabhiricha Paus, Harishchandrachi Factory, Natarang, Jogwa have received commercial and/or critical success. This decade has seen the emergence of stars like, Makrand Anaspure, Sunil Barve, Shreyas Talpade, Ankush Chaudhari, Sandeep Kulkarni, Sadashiv Amrapurkar, Sonali Kulkarni, Amruta Subhash, Ashwini Bhave, Sanjay Narvekar, Sachin Khedekar, Bharat Jadhav. Film-makers like Kedar Shinde, Gautam Joglekar, Gajendra Ahire, Bipin Nadkarni, Mahesh Manjrekar, Ankush Chaudhari, Prashant Pethe, Sanjay Surkar, Chandrakant Kulkarni, Satish Manwar, Nishikant Kamath, Paresh Mokashi, Umesh Kulkarni, Mangesh Hadawale, Avdhoot Gupte, Nitin Nandan, Yogesh Dattatraya Gosavi, Sachin Kundalkar are new entrants with veterans like Mahesh Kothare, Chitra Palekar (Maati Maay), Sumitra Bhave (Devrai, Vaastupurush, Doghi, Nital, Badha) Smita Talwalkar, Amol Palekar (Anaahat, Samaantar, Bangarwadi), Renuka Shahane (Rita).

In 2009, Marathi film Harishchandrachi Factory, depicting the struggle of Dadasaheb Phalke in making Raja Harishchandra in 1913, India's first feature film, directed by theatre-veteran Paresh Mokashi was selected as India's official entry to Academy Award in the Best Foreign Language Film Category, making it the second Marathi film, after Shwaas, to receive this honour [10][11][12].

In the year 2009 released the blockbuster musical movie Natarang which got both commercial and critical applause and has served as a path-breaking movie for Marathi cinema in many ways.

In the year 2010 released Vihir (Umesh Kulkarni), Zenda (Avdhoot Gupte), Jhing Chik Jhing (Nitin Nandan), Pratisaad - The Response (Yogesh Dattatraya Gosavi), Mumbai - Pune - Mumbai (Satish Rajwade), Paaradh (Gajendra Ahire) had given different direction to marathi films.


Filmfare Awards

Production Year Film Director Actor Actress Music
1963 Maza Hoshil Ka L.B.Thakur      
1964 Sant Nivrutti Gyandeo Vinayak Sarasvate & Bal Chavan      
1965 Lakshmi Aali Ghara Madhav Shinde      
1966 Gurukilli Raja Paranjpe      
1967 Pawnakanthcha Dhondi Vinayak Thakur      
1968 Ekti G. Chaugule      
1969 Jiwhala Atmaram      
1970 Apradh Sharad Pilgaonkar      
1971 Shantata! Court Chaloo Ahe Satyadev Dubey & Govind Nihalani      
1972 Kunku Mazhe Bhagyache Shamrao Mane      
1973 Andhala Marto Dola Dada Kondke      
1974 Sugandhi Katta Not Awarded Shreeram Lagoo (Sugandhi Katta) Sarla Yevlekar (Sugandhi Katta)  
1975 Samna Jabbar Patel (Samna) Shreeram Lagoo (Samna) Sandhya (Chandanachi Choli Ang Ang Jali)  
1976 Aaram Haram Aahe Vasant Joglekar (Ha Khel Saavlyancha) Ravindra Mahajani (Zunj) Asha Kale (Ha Khel Saavlyancha)  
1977 Naon Mothan Lakshan Khotan Murlidhar Kapdi (Naon Mothan Lakshan Khotan) Shreeram Lagoo (Bhingree) Usha Chavan (Naon Mothan Lakshan Khotan)  
1978 Devki Nandan Gopala Jabbar Patel (Jait Re Jait) Yashwant Dutt (Bhairu Pahilwan Ki Jai) Smita Patil (Jait Re Jait)  
1979 Sinhasan Jabbar Patel (Sinhasan) Sachin (Ashtavinayak) Ranjana (Sushila)  
1980 22 June 1897 Jayu & Nachiket Patwardhan (22 June 1897) Nilu Phule (Sahkar Samrat) Usha Chavan (Ran Pakhre)  
1981 Umbartha Jabbar Patel (Umbartha) Girish Karnad (Akriet) Smita Patil (Umbartha)  
1982 Shapit Raj Dutt & Arvind Deshpande (Shapit) Ashok Saraf (Gondhalat Gondhal) Madhu Kambikar (Shapit)  
1983 Gupchup Gupchup V. K. Naik (Gupchup Gupchup) Ashok Saraf (Goshta Dhamal Namyachi) Ranjana (Savitri)  
1984 Lek Chalali Saasarla N. S. Vaidya (Lek Chalali Saasarla) Ashok Saraf (Sage Soyre) Supriya Sabnis (Navri Mile Navryala)  
1987 Dhoom Dhadaka Mahesh Kothare (Dhoom Dhadaka) Laxmikant Berde  ??  
1994 Vazir Sanjay Rawal (Vazir) Vikram Gokhale (Vazir) Sukanya Kulkarni (Varsa Laxmicha) Shridhar Phadke (Varsa Laxmicha)
1995 Aai Mahesh Manjrekar (Aai) Sayaji Shinde (Aboli) Renuka Shahane (Aboli) Anand Modak (Mukta)
1996 Putravati Nichiket & Jayoo Patwardhan (Limited Manuski) Ashok Saraf (Soona Yeti Ghara) Sonali Kulkarni (Doghi) Shridhar Phadke (Putravati)
1997 Bangarwadi Amol Palekar (Bangarwadi) Mohan Joshi (Rao Saheb) Sukanya Kulkarni (Sarkarnama) Anand Modak (Sarkarnama)
1998 Tu Tithe Mee Sanjay Soorkar (Tu Tithe Mee) Mohan Joshi (Tu Tithe Mee) Suhas Joshi (Tu Tithe Mee) Anand Modak (Tu Tithe Mee)
1999 Bindhast Chandrakant Kulkarni (Bindhast) Dilip Prabhavalkar (Ratra Aarambh) Sharvari Jamenis (Bindhast) Shridhar Phadke (Lekru)

Maharashtra State Awards

Production Year Best Film 1 Best Film 2 Best Film 3
1962 Prapanch (Madhukar Pathak) Suvaasini (Raja Paranjpe) Shaahir Parshuraam (Anant Mane)
1963 Ranglyaa Raatri Ashyaa (Raja Thakur) Ha Maazaa Marg Ekla (Raja Paranjpe) Phakir (Chandrashekhar)
1964 Chhotaa Jawaan, Paathlaag (Raja Gabale, Raja Paranjpye) Pahu Re Kiti Vaat (Raja Thakur) Thoraataanchi Kamalaa (Madhu Shinde)
1965 Vaawtal (Shantaram Aathavale) Sawaal Maazaa Aikaa (Anant Mane) Third award not given
1966 Saadhi Maanse (Bhalji Pendharkar) Kelaa Ishara Jaataa Jaataa (Anant Mane) Shewatchaa Maalusaraa (Vasant Joglekar)
1967 Santh Vaahate Krushnaamaai (Madhukar Pathak) Kaakaa Malaa Waachwaa (Raja Paranjpe) Swapna Tech Lochani (Chandrawadan)
1968 Gharchi Raani (Rajdatt) Aamhi Jaato Aamuchyaa Gaawaa (Kamalakar Torne) Ekti (Raja Thakur)
1969 Apraadh (Rajdatt) Mukkaam Post Dhebewaadi (Madhukar Paathak) Dharmkanyaa (Maadhav Shinde)
1970 Mumbaicha Jawai (Raja Thakur) Warnecha Wagh (Vasant Painter) Laxmanresha (Manshav Shinde)
1971 Gharkul (Raja Thakur) Shantata Court Chalu Aahe (Satyadev Dubey) Dohni Gharcha Pahuna, Songadya (Garjanan Jagirdar, Govind Kulkarni)
1972 Jawai Vikat Ghene Aahe (Raja Thakur) Bholibhabdi (Rajdutt) Aandla Marto Dola (Dinesh)
1973 Sugandhi Katha (Vasant Painter) Kartiki (Datta Mane) Ashi Hi Sataryadi (Murlidhar Kapadi)
1974 Pandu Hawaldar (Dada Kondke) Saamna (Dr. Jabbar Patel) Bayanno Naure Sambhala (Dattatry Kulkarni)
1975 Charicha Mamla (Babsaheb Phattelal) Tumch Aamch Jamle (Dada Kondke) Pahuni (Anant Mane)
1976 Phrari (V. Ravindra) Bala Gau Kashi Aangai (Kamlakar Torne) Naav Motha Lakshan Khota (Murlidhar Kapadi)
1977 Devkinandan Gopala (Rajdutt) Bhairu Phehelwan Ki Jai (Kamlakar Torne) Jait Re Jait (Dr. Jabbar Patel)
1978 Janki (Vasant Joglekar) Ashtavinayak (Rajdutt) Bot Lavin Tithe Gudgulaya (Dada Kondke)
1979 22 June 1897 (Nechiket and Jayu Patwardhan) Sinhasan (Dr. Jabbar Patel) Paij (Babasaheb Phattelal)
1980 Umbartha (Dr. Jabbar Patel) Gondhlat Gondhal (V.K. Naik) Aakrit (Amol Palekar)
1981 Shapit (Rajdutt and Arvind Deshpande) Ek Dav Bhootacha (Ravi Namade) Aali Angawar (Dada Kondke)
1982 Raghu-Maina (Rajdutt) Goopchoop Goopchoop (V.K. Naik) Thorli Jau (Kamlakar Torne)
1983 Hech Mazhe Maher (Rajdutt) Thkas Mahathak (Raja Bargir), Mumbaicha Phoujdar (Rajdutt) (Divided) Bahurupi (Satish Randive)
1984 Ardhangi (Rajadutt) Deva Shapath Kharan Sangen (Bhaskar Jadhav) Stridhan (Babasaheb Phattelal)
1985 Pudhcha Paul (Rajdutt) Tuzhyavdachun Karmena (Damu Kenkare) Aaj Zale Mukt Me (Rajdutt)
1986 Prem Karuyaa Khullam Khullaa (Girish Ghanekar) Gammat Jammat (Sachin) Khatyaal Saasoo Naathaal Soon (N.S. Vaidya)
1987 Ashi Hi Banwaa Banwi (Sachin) Nashibwaan (N.S. Vaidya) Rangat Sangat (Girish Ghanekar)
1988 Kalat Nakalat (Kanchan Nayak) Aatmavishwaas (Sachin) Hamaal De Dhamaal (Purushottam Berde)
1989 Aaghat (Ramakant Kavthekar) Ekaapekshaa Ek (Sachin) Kooldeepak (N.S. Vaidya)
1990 Chaukat Raja (Sanjay Surkar) Vedh (Pradip Berlekar) Anapekshit (Sanjiv Naik)
1991 Ek Hotaa Vidushak (Dr. Jabbar Patel) Aapli Maanasa (Sanjay Surkar) Wajwaa Re Wajwaa (Girish Ghanekar)
1992 Vajir (Sanjay Rawal) Sawat Maazi Laadki (Smita Talwalkar) Lapandaaw (Shravani Devdhar)
1993 Muktaa (Dr. Jabbar Patel) Waarsaa Lakshmichaa (Madhukar Pathak) Maazaa Chhakulaa (Mahesh Kothare)
1994 Doghi (Sumitra Bhave) Baangarwaadi (Amol Palekar) Abolee (Amol Shedge)
1995 Raosaaheb (Sanjay Surkar) Putrawati (Bhaskar Jadhav) Sunaa Yeti Gharaa (A. Radhaswani)
1999 Gaabhaaraa (N.F.D) Gharaabaaher (Suyog Chitra) Bindhaast (Devyani Movies)

National Film Awards

Production Year Best Feature Film in Marathi Director
1954 Shyamchi Aai Acharya Pralhad Keshav Atre
1955 Mahatma Phule Aacharya Atre
1956 Mee Tulas Tuzhya Angani Raja Thakur
1957 Shirdiche Saibaba Kumarsen Samarth
1958 Gruhdevta Madhav Shinde
1959 Dhakti jau Anant Mane
1961 Kanyadan deepak
1962 Prapanch Madhukar Pathak
1962 Manini Anant Mane
1962 Vaijyanta Gajanan Jagirdar
1963 Ranglya Ratri Asha Raja Thakur
1963 Gariba Gharchi Lek Kamlakar Torne
1963 Jawai Mazha Bhala Neelkanth Magdum
1964 Ha Mazha Marg Ekla Raja Paranjpe
1964 Te Mazhe Ghar Ganesh Bhatt
1965 Pathlag Raja Paranjpe
1966 Sadhi Manasa Bhalji Pendharkar
1967 Pavana Kathcha Dhondi Anant Thakur
1968 Santh Wahate Krishnamai Madhukar Pathak
1969 Ekti Raja Thakur
1970 Tambdi Mati Bhalji Pendharkar
1971 Mumbaicha Jawai Raja Thakur
1972 Shantata! Court Chalu Aahe Satyadev Dubey
1972 Ajab Tuzhe Sarkar Raja Thakur
1973 Pinjra V. Shantaram
1976 Saamna Dr.Jabbar Patel
1978 Jait Re Jait Dr. Jabbar Patel
1979 Sinhasan Dr. Jabbar Patel
1980 22 June 1897 Nachiket and Jayu Patwardhan
1982 Umbartha Dr. Jabbar Patel.
1983 Shaapit Arvind Deshpande-Rajdutt
1984 Smruti Chitre Vijaya Mehta
1985 Mahananda K.G.Korgaokar
1986 Pudhcha Paool Rajdutta
1987 Sarja Rajdutt
1989 Kalat Nakalat Kanchan Nayak
1992 Ek Hota Vidushak Dr. Jabbar Patel
1993 Lapandav Shravani Devdhar
1994 Mukta Dr. Jabbar Patel
1995 Bangarwadi Amol Palekar
1996 Doghi Sumitra Bhave
2000 GharaBaher Sanjay Surkar
2001 Astitva Mahesh Manjrekar
2003 Vaastuprush Sumitra Bhave/Sunil Sukthankar
2004 Not Only Mrs. Raut Gajendra Ahire
2005 Uttarayan Bipin Nadkarni
2006 Dombivli Fast Nishikant Kamat
2006–2007 Shevri Gajendra Ahire
2008 Nirop Sachin Kundalkar
2009 Harishchandrachi Factory Paresh Mokashi

the contribution of legendary actors Nilu Phule and Dr. Sriram Lagu play major role in marathi film industry.

Further reading

  • Marathi Cinema: in retrospect, by Sanjit Narwekar, Raghuvir Kul, D. B. Samant. Corporation. Maharashtra Film, Stage & Cultural Development Corp., 1995.
  • All about Marathi Cinema, by Dana Rasmussen. 6 Degrees Books, 2010. ISBN 1171068247.


See also

  • List of Marathi films

External links

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