16 minutes agoAuthor: Ifat Qureshi
In today’s unheard stories, the story of the man who gave a new genre to Indian cinema. This genre was of sex comedy and that person is Dada Kondke. The actor of Marathi films who first introduced sex comedy or double meaning dialogues in films. The titles of his films were so double meaning that the censor board officials used to sweat on their foreheads. But, they were never able to ban the release of these films because they used to lose before the arguments of Dada Kondke.
Movies used to be double meaning, but were watched a lot. Dada Kondke holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the most consecutive Silver Jubilee films. 9 of his films ran in theaters for 25 weeks. Some of these lasted as long as 50 weeks. The more interesting his film journey was, the more painful his personal life. He never married the woman he married, having a daughter whom his grandfather never gave his name to. August 8 is the 90th birth anniversary of Dada Kondke.
Read, the untold story of Marathi film veteran actor-director Dada Kondke…
Dada’s terror was in Lalbagh’s chawl
It was the era of pre-independence India. It’s 1932. Years ago, a family from Ingavali, a small village near Pune, had moved to Mumbai in search of work. In Mumbai, the family settled in a chawl in Lalbagh, with most of its members working in Bombay Dyeing’s cotton mill.
In this family, a son was born on 8 August 1932 on the day of Gokul Ashtami. The son was named Krishna after the name of Lord Krishna, the same Krishna whom the country respected by giving him the name of Dada Kond. Krishna used to be very obese in his childhood, who was famous for doing minor hooliganism in the chawl. In an interview given to Rediff, Kondke himself had said, I had terror in Lalbagh area. No one could tease the girls of our locality. I used to get angry on the miscreants and I have fought a lot with bricks, stones, soda bottles.
All the members of the house were killed in the accident, only one brother left
The actual year is not mentioned anywhere, but while young, almost all the members of the family of Dada Kondke were killed in an accident. Only Dada Kondke and one of his elder brothers survived in the family. He was badly broken by this accident. He did not talk to anyone for a year, almost stopped eating and drinking. Dada Kondke said in an interview, I thought I would go crazy. Why did God do this to me? I thought that forgetting the sorrows, I will make people laugh. That’s how I got into comedy.
Tried everything from grocery store job to local band
When he emerged from the pain of losing family members, Dada Kondke took up a job in a grocery shop named Apna Bazar. Where he used to get 60 rupees a month. To entertain, he became a part of a local band, this is where he got an opportunity to join the stage show. Dada was so soft-spoken that even after years of success, he used to visit the band members. Seeing the Marathi star in the house, the band members used to think how to make them sit in a clean place, but Dada would explain to them that I am still the same person who was with you before.
While playing, Dada Kondke got an opportunity to visit many areas of Maharashtra, where he understood the entertainment demand of the audience very well. Kondke was part of the cultural programs of Seva Dal, where he acted in drama. It was here that he became familiar with his Marathi stage personality and with the help of Kondke started his own theater company.
Openly mocked Indira Gandhi in her play
This drama was described as anti-Congress, in which India Gandhi was also mocked a lot. While drama was liked on one hand, anti-Congress parties strongly supported Dada Kondke. Its last play took place in Hyderabad in 1975, immediately after the Emergency came into force.
Asha Bhosle made friends with the filmmaker and became a hero
Asha Bhosle, the popular singer of that era, was a big fan of her. She used to watch every show of ‘Vicha Majhi Puri Kara’ to be held in Mumbai. He was pleased with the performance of Dada Kondke and made him meet Marathi filmmaker Bhalji Pedhakar.
Bhalji Pedhakar got Dada Kondke a chance to appear in Marathi films in 1969 with the film ‘Tambadi Maati’. The film itself won the National Award for Best Marathi Feature Film. In 1971, Dada produced the film Songdya, in which he himself played the lead role.
Censor board was also upset with Dada’s films
Titles and dialogues of Dada Kondke’s films used to be double meanings. While some people used to adopt it openly, there was a section who found these dialogues unsightly. The censor board also objected to the films many times, but no one could raise their voice against Dada. He had some answer regarding the title and dialogue of each of his films, before which the censor board also had to bow down.
Started the trend of making Marathi films in Hindi if not in Bollywood
After becoming popular in Marathi cinema, Dada Kondke also appeared in Hindi films like ‘Tere Mere Beech Mein’, ‘Andheri Raat Mein Diya Tere Haath Mein’, ‘Age Ki Soch’ and ‘Le Chal Apne Saath’. Out of these, the film Diya Tere Haath Mein in Andheri Raat was very much discussed. The reason was the double meaning title of the film and the sex comedy dialogues. They were taken in films to make films reach mass audiences and make them funny, but they were given the status of B or C grade actors. Angered by this, Kondke started the trend of making Marathi films in Hindi.
Big actors like Dharmendra, Jeetendra, Amitabh Bachchan have also appreciated the work of Dada Kondke. Rekha has been seen doing Lavani in the song ‘Kuthe Jaiche Honeymoon’ from her film ‘Bhingri’. Asha Bhosle has given voice in many of his films.
When Dev Anand’s stardom faded in front of Dada
In 1971, the film ‘Songdya’ clashed with the then superstar Dev Anand’s film ‘Teen Deviyan’. The owner of Kohinoor Theater in Dadar decided to put Dev Anand’s film, but Dada had already booked the theater 4 weeks ago. Disturbed by the stubborn mood of the theater owner, Dada Kondke sought help from Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray.
Bal Thackeray himself built a small stage outside the theater and in a speech asked the theater owners, are films only in Hindi. You are doing injustice to the people of Maharashtra by not showing Marathi films. You did not give space to the film, now we will put this film in this theatre. We take away the right to film from you. If the film doesn’t work, then these talkies will no longer be talkies and you will have to pay for it.
Kondke used to work to mobilize crowd in rallies
Apart from films, Dada Kondke entered politics with Shiv Sena. Dada Kondke’s fan following was good and people from poorer sections also appreciated him a lot. Dada Kondke started working to increase the crowd in Shiv Sena’s rallies. Kondke used to win the hearts of the audience with his funny speech in rallies.
I want to be CM of Maharashtra- Kondke
While in politics, Dada had a close friendship with Bal Thackeray. When Shiv Sena was about to form the government again in the 80s, Dada had hoped that Thackeray would give him the MLA ticket, but he was disappointed. In an interview, he himself had expressed his desire to become the CM of Maharashtra.
had refused to name the daughter
Dada Kondke had married a woman named Nalini, from whom he divorced within a few years. Nalini claimed that she and Dada never had a physical relationship and the two had not met since 1967. In 1969, Nalini gave birth to daughter Tejaswini, whom Dada Kondke refused to adopt.
Dada Kondke, who lived in dazzle, passed his last time in loneliness
Dada’s family consisted of only his sister, who was cremated as soon as he came from Pune. Dada always liked to be surrounded by crowd. He loved talking to people so much that he used to spend on people only so that he could find someone to talk to. Dada Kondke’s last time was spent in his luxury penthouse in Dadar.
astrologer predicted failure
Dada Kondke himself had revealed in the interview that the astrologer who had seen his horoscope at the time of birth had said that he would get failure throughout his life, but Dada enjoyed success at every turn with his talent.