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Actor-director Jaishankar Danve’s family drop mementos to safety




A personal collection of actor-director Jaishankar Danve has been deposited in the National Film Archives of India (NFAI) by the family of the deceased actor.

A famous Marathi and Hindi artist, Danve was an acclaimed film / stage actor and theater director. Born in Pune, Jaishankar Danve started out as a stage artist at the Marathi and Urdu Theater, then worked as an assistant director with Bhalji Pendharkar at Jayprabha Studios in Kolhapur in the 1930s. Danve worked in a significant number of films and plays of theater during his illustrious career spanning more than five decades.

His family handed over the precious collection to Prakash Magdum, Director of NFAI at their home in Kolhapur.

Some of his memorable films are Baburao Painters’ iconic social drama Savkari Pash (1936), Bhalji Pendharkars celebrated feature films Sasurvas (1946), Meeth Bhakar (1949), Mohityanchi Manjula (1963) and Maratha Tituka Melavava (1964), and the main antagonist of Dada Konkdes Andhala Marto Dola (1973). Interestingly, he made his film debut with the Urdu film Asire Havis (1935), and played prominent roles in Hindi and Urdu cinema in the 1930s and 1940s in films like Sach Hai (1939), and has shared the screen with the legendary father-son duo Prithviraj. Kapoor and Raj Kapoor in Valmiki (1946). As a director, he has also made films such as Jai Bhawani (1947), Phoolpakhru (1953) and Ishwari Nyay (1953).

The collection consists of rare archival photographs and albums consisting of prospectuses, songbooks, newspaper clippings, old articles and documents, various books, as well as his manuscripts. Some interesting keepsakes from the collection are a few wigs and a mustache from his 1933s piece Hamlet.

The bulk of the collection consists of rare black and white photo frames and photographs from his films. There are 40 frames in size 15 * 12 featuring different gestures from cinema and theater, a 250 photo album featuring clicks from his movies and plays and 51 rare photos of other contemporary actors. In addition to this, there are three albums containing brochures, newspaper clippings, articles, rare flyers, old documents and advertising material from the 1930s.

The highlight of the collection remains the handwritten literary work of Jaishankar Danve which includes fourteen novels, eight plays and five stories.

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We are delighted to receive this important collection from an artist belonging to the early era of Indian cinema. It is significant that the Danve family have preserved their memories all these years and I thank them for this noble gesture of donating the collection to NFAI. The collection takes us back to the golden age of Marathi films and theater through rare photographs, documents, various brochures and other literary works. I am sure this addition would be useful to film researchers. I urge the families of seasoned film artists to take inspiration from the Danve family and donate this material for conservation, said Prakash Magdum, director of NFAI.

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