Raj Thackeray granted bail

Hours after being arrested, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray has been granted bail on a surety of Rs 15,000 on Wednesday.

He was arrested from his central Mumbai residence and was taken in a police van to Vikhroli court in suburban Mumbai, where he was produced.

A case against him had been registered in Vikhroli police station after he made inflammatory remarks against North Indians that led to incidents of violence.

Following Thackeray's arrest, Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said, ''Police have taken the correct step by arresting Raj Thackeray.''

Adding to Deshmukh's statement, Deputy Chief Minister RR Patil said Raj Thackeray's arrest was an implication that Maharashtra government would not let anyone take law into his own hands.

Samajwadi Party leader Abu Asim Azmi was also arrested from his residence in South Mumbai on charges of inciting violence and promoting enmity between groups. But an hour later he was granted bail.

Azmi was produced before Mumbai's Bhoiwada Court and was released on bail against a surety of Rs 10,000.

Security has been beefed up around the Vikhroli court. Raj Thackeray's lawyers had asked for an appointment to argue for bail.

Eight MNS workers have also been arrested in Vikhroli. Earlier in the day, MNS State Secretary Vasant Geete was also taken into custody in Nagpur.

Meanwhile, police made around 1800 preventive detentions in various parts of the state to prevent any untoward incident in the aftermath of the arrests of Thackeray and Azmi, Director General of police PS Pasricha said. (With PTI inputs)

Country's interest first for us: Bal Thackeray

Maharashtra has always put the country's interests first and abided by the Rashtra dharma (national ethos), Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray said, in an apparent indication that he is not pleased with his nephew Raj Thackeray's campaign against North Indian migrants.

''Shivaji Maharaj took help of Pathans who belonged to other religion and other country in his fight against Mughal invaders,'' he said in an editorial published today in Sena mouthpiece Saamana.

''We also want to carry out the same work. Those who will come with us are our friends, our brethren. We will not think about their caste, region and religion,'' the Sena chief said.

In a veiled attack on Raj, who left the Sena in 2005, he said, ''When Shivaji Maharaj unfurled the saffron flag in Maharashtra, those who stabbed him in the back were his blood relations...his own Marathas.''

''When we proclaim the legacy of Shivaji Maharaj, it is not only to announce caste inheritance,'' the 82-year-old Sena patriarch noted.

For the last 40 years, the Shiv Sena has imbibed Hindutva, he said, adding ''now, the Hindu religion is facing invasion after invasion. At this time, reply will have to be given to this Islamic aggression through Hindutva,'' he said.

Raj launched his own outfit Maharashtra Navnirman Sena in 2006 following differences with his cousin Uddhav, the Sena Executive President.

Raj Thackeray, Abu Azmi arrested

MUMBAI: As per TV reports, Mumbai Police have arrested MNS chief Raj Thackeray and SP leader Abu Azmi on charges of promoting enmity between groups.

Thackeray, who was arrested from his central Mumbai residence, was taken in a police van to Vikhroli court in the suburbs.
Commenting on the arrest of the MNS chief, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil said that Raj Thackeray's arrest shows that government will not let anyone take law into his own hands.

According to a Mumbai police official, the law and order situation is under control in the city.

It is not clear whether Raj Thackeray has applied for bail.

Thackeray and SP leader Abu Asim Azmi were booked under sections 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot), 153 A (promoting enmity between groups on the basis of place of birth, residence, etc) and 153 B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration).

The case against Raj was registered at Vikhroli police station and against Azmi at Shivaji Park police station.

A day after an FIR was lodged against MNS chief Raj Thackeray, arson spread to Pune, Nashik and Marathwada region with angry MNS mobs attacking buses and public property in several places.

More than 400 MNS workers were rounded up in Mumbai and Aurangabad triggering panic forcing the Centre to rush paramilitary forces to Maharashtra to prevent the situation getting uglier.

On Tuesday, in Pune and Pimpri Chinwad, MNS workers went on a rampage following reports of the possible arrest of Raj, during which windows and windscreens of 11 buses were smashed.

Shops along Nashik Road were closed down following the incident. Incidents of stone-pelting on state-run buses were reported from Nashik Road, Ambad, Ravivar Peth and Gangapur areas. Bus services were severely curtailed and diverted via Nipani.

In Amrawati, rumours of Raj's arrest led to MNS workers blocked roads and pelted stones at buses damaging several vehicles in the process. Preventive arrests were made here as well.


Marathi magazine to be launched in Feb is first Braille fortnightly

The magazine, to be launched on 1 February, will be sold through subscriptions and also distributed free to institutions working with the blind in Maharashtra

Sudha Menon

Until now, blind people in Maharashtra who wanted to keep themselves abreast of the latest political and current affairs news had no option but the radio and the audio stream from television news channels. Soon, they will have a 40-page fortnightly magazine, in Braille, and in Marathi.
Working out of a tiny office in Andheri, a western suburb of Mumbai, journalist-turned- theatre personality and entrepreneur Swagat Thorat is set to launch Sparshgyan, which he claims will be the first news, politics and current affairs fortnightly magazine for the blind in the country.
The magazine, to be launched on 1 February, will be sold through subscriptions and also distributed free to institutions working with the blind in Maharashtra
Well-known Marathi poet and writer Arun Mhatre will write a column in Sparshgyan, as will theatre critic Suresh Chavan, who will talk about the latest work on the stage. And P.D. Deshpande, who runs Helpers of the Handicapped, a non-government organization (NGO) based in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, will write a column on personality development.
While organizations working for the blind have been continually at the forefront to make life easier for the visually challenged, there is always a little more to be done, says Parimala Bhat, a social worker with Air India.
For more than six years now, Parimala has been running Snehankit, a help-line for the blind that helps the community by finding volunteers to help them cope with the demands of everyday life.
"Education is a big issue...; there are very few readers and books (in Braille) are limited for higher studies," says Bhat.
For the past four years, Thorat has been publishing Sparshgandh, a collection of fiction and non-fiction in Braille. He sells around 500 copies of this every year.
A few corporations have shown interest in Sparshgyan and Thorat has found a few sponsors, but he is not willing to divulge the details.
Sparshgandh has, in the past, featured advertisements (in Braille) from Bank of Maharashtra and Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers Ltd, among others and Thorat is confident of getting good response from advertisers for the new magazine. A year's subscription of the magazine costs Rs960.
According to the National Association of the Blind, an NGO, India has the largest population of visually challenged people in the world. The organization runs a talking book library project that produces a range of books in Braille every year.

Ashwini Bhave Wins Screen Award

Special to India-West

MUMBAI — Marathi and Hindi film actor Ashwini Bhave resides in Hillsborough, Calif., the upmarket abode of Silicon Valley's celebrities. But as of now, her address is the seventh heaven of delight, for the lady is ecstatic about winning the Screen Award for Best Actor (Female) in Marathi cinema for her maiden production as well as comeback film, "Kadaachit."

Speaking to India-West by phone from her home, she said, "I am really honored because Screen is very close to my heart and is hugely respected as the industry's paper. Besides, this is a jury award. This is my comeback to cinema after 10 years and my debut as a producer and I am very thrilled that everyone has loved the film."

Ashwini Bhave's last release was "Yugpurush" in 1998.

She married Kishore Bopardikar, founder and president of the software company Calypso, and settled in California. Now a mother of a son, 5, and daughter, 4, she came back after a decade.

Bhave is also making her debut as producer with the Marathi psychological thriller, "Kadaachit" — the title means "possibly" or "maybe" — which has garnered high critical acclaim and is also doing well commercially all over Maharashtra.

"I had time on my hands and I wanted to utilize it, so I made the film," said Bhave. "I have always kept myself updated with what was happening in the Hindi and Marathi film industries, and let me tell you that my almost exclusive connection with them was the extensive entertainment section of India-West!"

Even during her absence from the studios, Ashwini did not severe personal connection with the arts. She enrolled at the Academy of Art University's BFA program in San Francisco, becoming a student of cinema all over again, and graduated in 2002.

"Kadaachit" goes beyond a psychological thriller into a deeper dimension. "My film is about the perception of truth," Bhave explained. "People have different perceptions of various things, but the truth is often different from what they perceive. My film may be different, but it is gripping to the last frame and entertaining as well — from start to finish.

"I must tell you about the uneducated old woman who sat next to us when my director Chandrakant Kulkarni and I quietly watched the film along with the audience. She had no teeth and wore thick spectacles, but she was enjoying throughout and giving all the right reactions to the humor, drama, sad scenes and so on. We as filmmakers often underestimate the audience, which is very intelligent and receptive to any good entertainment."

"Kadaachit" co-stars Sachin Khedekar, who has also clinched the Screen Best Actor Award for the same film. "Another highlight of the film is Sadashiv Amrapurkar in an image-breaking role," says the actor-producer who is thrilled with her role too. "I have never done something like this in any of the 40 films in which I have acted."

"Kadaachit" is technically savvy, like all Marathi films nowadays, and director Kulkarni is the man who gave Marathi films its turnaround movie "Bindhaast" in 1999. "Bindhaast," a whodunit, was Marathi cinema's first film in Cinemascope and had three female leads. Its denouement formed the blueprint for the plotline of Priyadarshan's 2006 success "Bhagam Bhag."

How did the film happen? "Chandrakant told me about this story written 15 years ago by the famous Marathi playwright Girish Joshi. It had never been staged, and I fell in love with it. We decided spontaneously to make the film, and production was an enthralling process though it had its moments of stress!" said Bhave.

The actress and producer, whose most famous Hindi film is "Henna," now awaits a good script before she makes her next movie in both capacities. Tentatively, "Kadaachit" is expected to release in the U.S. in February.


Multiplexes refusing Marathi movies may face action

Multiplexes refusing Marathi movies may face action

MUMBAI: Not running Marathi movies as per the stipulations will cost the multiplex owners dearly as Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil on Tuesday warned of cancelling lincenses of such theaters.

A meeting was held in Mantralaya (state secretarait) where Marathi film distributers discussed problems with government officials in releasing movies in multiplexes, official sources said.

There is a provision that multiplexes shall keep one screen reserved for Marathi movies, but they do not follow this rule, distributors pointed out.

There are 16 multiplexes in the city, but they avoid screening Marathi movies in prime time, they said in the meeting attended among others by Patil, who is also the Home Minister.

Nana Patekar to direct film for Prakash Jha

By Reshma Kelkar

Nana Patekar didn't take much interest in filmmaking after his directorial debut Prahaar. But he is planning to take up direction seriously, soon. His second film as director will be produced by Prakash Jha.

Jha who is currently contemplating four scripts for his banner informs that Nana's film will be one of the films that will be produced by his banner next year. "Nana is friend. We worked together in Apaharan. My production house is working on different kinds of films. I want to produce five films a year, and Nana will direct one of those five films that will commence next year," says Jha.

According to Prakash, Nana is still working on the script with his team of writers and once they complete scripting, he will announce the film. However as an actor, Nana will be a part of Jha's forthcoming film called Rajniti that will be directed by Prakash Jha himself.

"I am planning to start Rajniti at the end of January. The film deals with the understanding of democracy. The story is mine and we are still working on the script. Ajay Devgan and Nana will also be part of the film," he confirms, "We will cast three more actors, and two strong female actors for the film."

It is believed that Jha was keen to sign on Lara Dutta who opted out of his film Apaharan. "Yes we were in talks with Lara but she was busy with a foreign film and couldn't do Apaharan. We haven't finalized any actress yet. We will make an announcement once we have all our actors on board, and that will be sometime soon, hopefully."

Marathi film hits the big money jackpot

Neeta Kolhatkar

Saade, Maade, Teen is one of the biggest Marathi hits, as the box office collection in three weeks has created a record of sorts

MUMBAI: Marathi cinema is a poor cousin of its Hindi counterpart and films in the regional language rarely make it big at the box office. But a new Marathi film is giving Bollywood’s best a run for their money and is scoring big at the turnstiles.

Saade, Maade, Teen a Marathi film loosely based on Chalti ka Naam Gaadi was released last month and has become a huge hit. Such has been its success that many theatres that had booked screens for Aaja Nach Le, the comeback vehicle of Madhuri Dikshit switched to Saade, Maade, Teen.

“In the first week we had kept Saade, Maade, Teen in the 200 seat auditorium as we had reserved three shows for Aaja Nach Le, in the 526 seat auditorium. However even Madhuri’s magic did not work on the audience so we ended up swapping the two,” said Arvind Chaphalkar, director City Pride Multiplex in Kothrud, Pune.

Many reasons have been given for the Marathi film’s success. The producers, Zee Talkies, spared no effort to give it a gloss normally associated with big budget Hindi blockbusters. But behind the scenes too, it was professionalism all the way. International stock of positives was used for the first time in Marathi films for the first time and every cast member was given a hardbound script witch each frame sketched in it. “The entire film was shot in 24 days in Lonavala,” said Ajay Bhalwankar, executive producer.

The cast of the film helped too. The three lead actors are Ashok Saraf, Bharat Jadhav and Makran Anajpure, the first time so many big names have come together. “We were all in sync with each other and at no point of time was there any confusion,” said Sachit Patil, the director.

But it is the story that has proved to be a big hit. The film is about strong family relationships and Indian traditions, which has clicked with audiences. So overwhelming has been the response that it broke all records. Trade figures show that the film earned over one and a half crores in the first three weeks.

“All our 21 shows in the first week were houseful and in the second week 19 house full. From the third week despite the fact that the film was shown in other theatres we have been doing well,” said Vivek Damle, one of the directors Prabhat Theatre, Pune.

But what really tilted the balance in its favour is the younger Maharashtrians as well as non-Maharashtrians have been attracted by the film. Rakesh Sippy, of Chitra cinema happily says that the new young Maharashtrian filmgoer also spends more money in cafeterias, unlike his older counterpart.

One country, 3,271 rivers... and an encyclopaedia that maps it all


Sharatchandra Manohar Bhalerao’s extensive travels to rivers throughout India during his career may have been restricted to fulfilling his role as engineer and consultant with various irrigation and water projects. But it was his love and deep sense of awe for the country’s rivers and their influence on the Indian consciousness that became the final inspiration for his lifetime’s work: perhaps the first ever Encyclopedia on Indian Rivers in Marathi.

Bhalerao did not live to see his dream through to its logical end. He died in February 2006, leaving behind him 16 years of painstaking research and an unpublished encyclopedia. But his research associate Anuja Joshi carried his work forward and today, the book is in its final stages of publication. Brought out by the city-based Diamond Publications, the book is slated for release by the end of the year, complete with rare maps and photographs.

The Bharatiya Sarita Kosh, as it is called, includes detailed information on all scientific, cultural, historic and even spiritual aspects of the country’s 3,271 rivers. From detailed descriptions and classification of rivers and their tributaries to their earliest references in the Rig Veda, the encyclopedia contains everything one needs to know about rivers.

The first section of the book deals with the scientific and statistical information on rivers, including the origins, length, tributaries and the states through which they pass. A unique aspect of this section is the diagrammatical classification of each river, giving a hierarchy of its tributaries. “This highly scientific data brings together information from various sources including the irrigation department, state government gazettes, and even rare maps. This makes it a vital source for research, and at the same time is given in a language that is simple and easy to understand for the common man,” said Joshi.

Information on the bird, animal and plant biodiversity found along these rivers can also be found in the encyclopedia, as are geological facts on the soil and rock variety in the river basins. Modes of transport used to ferry goods along rivers since ancient times are also detailed in the encyclopedia. Apart from this, the book also lists the irrigation projects and dams undertaken on these rivers, including any controversies or conflicts that may have arisen from them (like the Narmada Dam project).

Rivers hold a special significance for Indians in all states, and many temples and religious places are built on their banks. What’s more, the rivers themselves are revered as goddesses in many places like the Shri Krishnabai Mandir at Karad in Maharashtra (Krishna River) or the Godavari Devi Mandir (Godavari River) in Nashik. Festivals are also celebrated in some parts of India to pay tribute or express gratitude to the rivers. All this and more has been dealt with in the cultural section.

In the historical section, all references to rivers in classical Indian texts like the Rig Veda have been recorded, as are historical tales like that of ‘River Ganga: Myth and Reality.’

In his foreword, Bhalerao talks about how rivers held the nation together and forged a feeling of respect and patriotism among Indians for their own land. “Through this book he wanted to underline how the rivers, which passed through various states, forged a sense of oneness in the country,” said Joshi.

A Marathi paean to Urdu poetry

Prashant Rangnekar

Wearing various hats simultaneously is nothing new for the Thane Municipal Corporation's (TMC) public relations officer Sandeep Malvi. At 36, he has also been a journalist for 12 years and has worked with the anti-HIV/AIDS movement at the Maharashtra State AIDS Control society (MSACS). But his favourite hobby is also his worst-kept secret—Malvi has honed a fine talent, of writing ghazals in Marathi.

Since ghazals are primarily a form of Urdu literature, there are few who have dabbled this form of poetry in any other language even after Marathi poet Madhav Julian started writing ghazals , followed by famous ghazal writer Suresh Bhat, who also wrote in Marathi. But Malvi once had the opportunity to tour with ghazal singer Bhimrao Panchal, a trip that turned a small hobby into a serious passion.

“I believe a poet's mind keeps thinking all the time, whatever he does,” says Malvi, when asked when a busy civic official finds the time for couplets. “Whenever any line comes to my mind, I quickly put it down on a piece of paper. Still, sometimes just one ghazal may take months to finish. It all depends on what comes to my mind.” A collection of Malvi’s ghazals has already been published by the Ghazal Sagar Pratisthan, with a second edition being released by Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh earlier this year.

His versatile work experience reflects in his poetry too, besides having assisted his steady climb in his career. Starting as a journalist in Kolhapur, the always-calm Salvi came to Mumbai in 1997 to join a magazine before switching to MSACS as a project co-ordinator. “My stint as a journalist and my work with AIDS patients brought me closer to some harsh realities of life,” he says. That’s why, his poetry dwells on various emotions, but the focus is often on social issues.

“Earlier, I would pen verse of any kind, without really keeping in mind any particular form. But it was ghazal singer Bhimrao Panchal who, having read some of my poetry, advised me to try developing myself as ghazal writer,” he says. “One has to take proper care while writing ghazals, since the rhyming pattern must match the form.” His ghazals “directly touch the chords of the heart”, in the words of Panchal. “Even while writing on various issues ranging from life to social problems, he maintains the rhyme of ghazals which is of utmost importance,” adds Panchal, who has sung several of Malvi's ghazals at big concerts.

Malvi is now also writing a novel and a book on eunuchs, a project he has toured the country for, trying to gather detailed aspects of life in India for the transgender community. For Malvi, until that project is complete, it’s another bee in his buzzing bonnet.


First-time producer Shri Avinash Onkar plans to remake his Marathi film ‘Kaalchakra’ screened as part of the Indian Panorama Section at IFFI-2007 in Hindi. While speaking to media persons here today, Shri Onkar informed that he was inspired to make Kaalchakra, a film that deals with the life situation of HIV + persons and how the society excludes them at large, after having personally witnessed the plight of some of the HIV + persons known to him in real life. The Hindi version would allow spreading the message of the film to a much wider audience, the producer commented.

The film’s director, Shri Vishal Bhandari stressed that great amount of research had gone in finalizing the film’s story such as acquiring authentic information on AIDS and HIV + cases from the National AIDS Research Institute, Pune and interaction with real life HIV + people. Meanwhile, commenting on his decision to play the main protagonist of the film i.e. Shekhar, Sachin Khedekar said “It was a rare opportunity to work in a film that provided me an opportunity to give back to the society which has given so much to me”.

The film revolves around the life of Shekhar whose dreams come crashing down, when he discovers that he is HIV +. He loses his family, job and self-respect. The film deals with the problems that Shekhar faces in terms of social exclusion and how he gradually acquires the will and determination to give himself a better future. Finally Shekhar succeeds.

Dilip Kumar’s life story in Marathi

Deepa Venkatraman

The book, tailored around the actor’s birth, family, career path and his heroines is slated for release in December

He has seen his favourite star many a time, seen all his movies right from Mela to Jugnu and Naya Daur to Saudagar. But this take is different for Prasannakumar Daniel Farande as he’s turned author of Dilip Kumar Bhartiya Cinenayakache Charitra, the Marathi version of the biography on Dilip Kumar in English, Star Legend of Indian Cinema- Dilip Kumar written by Bunny Ruben years back.

“Sanjay Nahar of Chinar Publication approached me to do the project and I didn’t think twice when I came to know it was on the legend whom I have been tracking since my childhood. Now even the Puneites and all the Marathi readers can get an in-depth information of their favourite hero,” says Farande who started the translation about two years back.

The book, tailored around the actor’s birth, family, career path, and his heroines, is slated to release in December 2007. The book also states that Kumar spent a brief period in Pune before entering the film world. “From Peshawar, Kumarji’s family came to Mumbai and started a fruit business. He later came down to Pune after his studies and worked as a canteen manager in the military mess for a year. He made a lot of friends and enjoyed living in the city,” says Farande.
Although a versatile actor who gave a new dimension to Indian cinema, Kumar had his own share of troubles at the start of his film career.

“Kumarji wanted to become a journalist but was destined to meet actor Devika Rani of Bombay Talkies and thus got the first role in Jwar Bhata followed by Pratima Swarna, which received a lot of criticism for his physique. But the turning point in his career was his subsequent movies Mela and Jugnu where he was recognised as an actor. Although Jugnu was banned in for a while Kumarji’s acting was applauded,” he says.

Farande unearthed many anecdotes that made the legend popular amongst his peers in the industry. Farande says, “Once when Bimal Roy was going through a financial crunch just before the release of Madhumati , Kumarji talked to the distributors and got the finances arranged. He also gave a considerable amount of cash for the repair work of a temple and a masjid during one of his shoots in North India.”

There was a writer too hidden inside the versatile actor. “ The creative spark was the result of a fire burning in his belly as he was refused a role in Mother India. That’s not it, Bhojpuri dialect was introduced in Hindi cinema for the first time in Ganga Jamuna.”
Although Kumar was known for his affairs with his heroines, his true love was only one-Kamini Kaushal. Farande says, “In the book, Kumarji has

confessed that he loved only once and the first flame of love cannot be copied. He was totally heartbroken when Kaushal was forced to give up the relationship and left for London to get over it.” But cupid struck him once again in the form of Saira Banu.

Vasudev Balwant Phadke

From Screen

Vasudev Balwant Phadke is a Marathi film that recalls the life and efforts of a Maratha freedom fighter, which stood against the British regime. At a time when Indians had accepted British as their true masters, Vasudevrao, as he was more popularly known, chose to ridicule the oppression and autocracy. Vasudevrao created his own army and fought against the East India Company’s rule.

The film focuses deeply on Vasudevrao’s personality and his influence on others around him. The film also recalls Vasudevrao’s vision for a free India and his contributions to Maharashtra’s social upliftment. Vasudev Balwant Phadke attempts to relive the life of a freedom fighter and create awareness about him.

ProducerRamesh Deo
“Some years back I was addressing a guest lecture for BA students in Pune and out of the blue, I popped them a question. I asked them if they knew who Vasudev Balwant Phadke was. A few students raised their hands and when I asked them to speak about him, I was shocked. Some were of the opinion that he was the grandfather of some producer and others identified him as a businessman, social worker and other such professions.

It was a surprise that we Marathi folk had forgotten Vasudev Balwant Phadke, a man who stood against the British empire when the Indian society identified them as a divine blessing. Vasudev Balwant Phadke, the film speaks about how he opposed the British regime and made people aware that their oppressive reign was not a gift of God.

I have made films on historical subjects before so I knew what had to be done with Vasudev Balwant Phadke. Where an average Marathi film on historical figures is made on a meagre budget of 50 lacs, we have gone all the way with our film. I wanted this film to be as big and lavish as possible, and our added efforts have made it as wonderful as a timeless novel. I hope people watch this film and relive true Indian and Maratha glory.”

‘Kaalchakra’ to be screened at World Bank HQ

By Team

Marathi film Kaalchakra which is currently being shown at the IFFI has been invited by the World Bank for a screening at its headquarters in Washington.

The film focuses on the sensitive issue of HIV/Aids. Sachin Khedekar who plays the lead as Shekhar has his dreams come crashing down when he discovers that he is HIV positive. He loses his family, job and self respect. Even his wife deserts him.

Produced by Avinash Omkar and directed by Vishal Bhandarkar, Kaalchakra succeeds in breaking some myths about this disease. Also starring in the movie is Shilpa Tulaskar and Yatin Karekar.

Mumbai Amchich: Who's Mumbai is it?

Prachi Jawadekar WaghTuesday, January 8, 2008: (Mumbai):

Mumbai Amchich is one Marathi film that could not just renew the debate on who is a true Mumbaikar but also whether cinema is being used as a political tool.

In the film a police officer quits the force to tackle a syndicate of politicians and businessman who are trying to run the Marathis out of his city. Although the plot is said to be fictional, the events and characters shown find echo in real life.

In keeping with its vitriolic theme several negative characters are played by non-Maharashtrians.Despite this, the filmmaker claims his message is not one of exclusion.

"The Government says this and we are only saying the same thing that people who have already come are part of us now but the train loads of people who are coming should not come," said Sharad Bansode, actor, director and producer.

But it's a message that didn't find it easy going with the censors. The Censor Board saw the film four times but refused to give it a certificate.

The main reason being that they felt the film brands all non-Maharashtrians as being against Mumbai and that the movie may do little good for a city it claims to reclaim.

But finally after three more viewings from the tribunal the film got the green light.While his views closely resemble those of parties like the Shiv Sena and Raj Thackeray's party neither party has agreed to come forward and support his movie so far.

Digital technology to be used to spread Marathi culture: Maharashtra CM

Panaji, Jan 6: The Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Mr Vilasrao Deshmukh today said that new digital technology should be used to preserve and spread Marathi culture and tradition for the sake of new generation, and the Jagatik Marathi Academy can help the Maharashtra government in achieving this task.

Speaking during the valedictory function of the Jagatik Marathi Sammelan, a global Marathi conference on the theme ‘Shodh Marathi Manacha’, at the Dinanath Mangueshkar Kala Mandir, he said that the Maharashtra government has already decided to provide grants for supporting the traditional arts from the state, including folk art and stage productions.

“The Maharashtra government is also dedicated towards reducing the distance and differences between it and the writers, poets, artists, performers, and so on,” he added.

The Chief Minister, Mr Digambar Kamat and the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Mr R R Patil, besides the president of the conference and noted film and stage actor, Nilu Phule were also present on the dais.

Speaking further, Mr Deshmukh said that a Marathi person may be slow in his approach but definitely attains the target set for him.

Stating that any state achieves success when it has control over law and order situation, Mr Deshmukh observed that Goa is one such state where even the tourists are ensured of their safety. “The theme of the conference which is based on search of a Marathi mind, was fulfilled when the Chief Minister of Goa agreed to take on the responsibility as the chairperson of the reception committee of the event,” he pointed out.

Mr Deshmukh also said that the grandmothers in various Marathi families settled around the globe have become a major force for spreading Marathi language in their respective families.

The Maharashtra Chief Minister also lauded the presence of Nilu Phule for the function, stating that in spite of old age and ill health, the veteran actor and noted social worker had attended the 3-day function due to his love for the language.

Mr Kamat, in his speech said that the global Marathi conference is one of the unforgettable events in his career.
Mr Patil, speaking on the occasion said that Maharashtra is ahead of countries like Russia, Poland, Italy and South Korea, in terms of its achievements in the field of investment.

He also stated that more youth from Marathi families should remain present for such functions.

Nilu Phule and the president of the Jagatik Marathi Academy, Mr Ramdas Phutane also spoke on the occasion. The co-ordinator of the event, Mr Vishnu Wagh welcomed, while Dr Ajay Vaidya compered.

Popular Marathi Singer, Milind Ingle joins K for Kishore..

A surprise in store for viewers this week in K for Kishore, as the famous Marathi singer Milind Ingle joins the show as a celebrity contestant...

There is a big surprise in store for viewers of K for Kishore. The show which is a big hit with all Kishore Kumar fans has now inspired a singer to join the show as a celebrity contestant! The singer in question is popular Marathi singer – Milind Ingle. What could possibly make a popular singer take part in a reality show?

A household name in Maharashtrian homes, Milind says the reason he decided to join the show is not to ape Kishoreda's style of singing but to sing keeping in mind Kishoreda's style of portraying emotions in his singing. Says Milind, "From childhood I have been a great fan of Kishore Kumar. I have never had the opportunity to meet him in person but yet I consider him to be my guru."

Milind is a multi-talented singer. "I have always sung my own compositions at my performances. And on K for Kishore too I am going to sing my own compositions, sung in my own voice but in Kishore da's style. I look at it as an opportunity to dedicate the songs to him. I think the show is not looking for an imitation of Kishore Kumar's voice but a talented singer who can sing as good as Kishore Kumar!"

With that interpretation, Milind has not only given a whole new meaning to the show but an incentive to viewers to watch the show with renewed enthusiasm. Viewers are going to love this new entrant .

From India Forum

Eight Disney titles launched in Marathi

Eight Disney titles launched in Hindi and Marathi, Malayalam books to be launched in March ‘08

Disney Publishing Worldwide (India), a division of The Walt Disney Company (India), entered a licensing agreement with Popular Prakashan, one of the leading publishers in India to publish classic Disney storybooks such as The Jungle Book, Aladdin, The Lion King, Winnie the Pooh, Bambi, Cinderella, Tarzan, and Peter Pan, in Hindi and Marathi. Illustrated in delightful Disney traditional style, these eight titles will also be available in Malayalam in March, 2008. "Disney stories carry positive values and bring out the gift of imagination in children. We are excited to help promote family reading in local languages through these eight Disney titles,” says Harsha Bhatkal, Popular Prakashan.

“We are pleased to provide young readers across India with great Disney reading experiences in their own languages. The launch of this collection reinforces our commitment to localize our stories and connect with consumers through content that is relevant to their everyday lives,” said Disney Publishing Worldwide (India) spokesperson.

Published by Popular Prakashan, these Disney storybooks will be available in full colour and are priced at Rs. 40 each.

Zee Marathi now available on WatchIndia.TV

WatchIndia.TV, the largest Indian internet television company has just introduced yet another channel. For the first time ever, and not available any where outside of India, Zee Marathi is on WatchIndia.TV. Now Marathis in the diaspora can stay connected to Maharashtrian entertainment, news, music and life.

WatchIndia.TV, the largest Indian internet television company has just introduced yet another channel. For the first time ever, and not available any where outside of India, Zee Marathi is on WatchIndia.TV. Now Marathis in the diaspora can stay connected to Maharashtrian entertainment, news, music and life.

Hit shows like Idea SaReGaMaPa, Asambhav and Kalat Nakalat have been a huge success in India and now Marathis worldwide can relish in talent and entertainment straight from Mahrashtra. Zee Marathi also premiers Marathi films once a month with Marashtrian stars like Madhuri Dixit, and Ashok Saraf.

“If there is one thing that Indian expatriates want is familiar content. Now WatchIndia.TV is offering the Marathi community worldwide a stronger connection to life back home and that’s Zee Marathi, says Tripti Singh Spokesperson of

Zee Marathi is exclusively on WatchIndia.TV for just $9.99 as a standalone channel, a mere $.33 per day for Marathi entertainment. With the flexibility and convenience, subscribers can watch Zee Marathi anywhere home, office or hotspot. Additionally, if they miss the latest Idea SaReGaMaPa they can catch it on demand with all shows for 14 days.

About WatchIndia
WatchIndia is the first site from Live Asia TV, an innovative new Internet Television company whose goal is to bring ethnic Asian programming to those residing in the diaspora. WatchIndia partnered with top rated networks in India including Times NOW, Zee TV, Zoom, Zee Sports, Aastha, IOL Movie Channel, Zee Punjabi, Zee Gujurati, Zee Cinema, YashRaj Films and now Shemaroo Entertainment. For more information, or a free 5-day trial, visit

Alladin discovers magic of Marathi

While India Inc is busy shopping on foreign shores, a slice of the foreign is making inroads into the Indian vernacular market. Disney - with its popular host of characters like Mowgli, Alladin, Winnie the Pooh, Bambi and others - will soon be available in Hindi and Marathi.

Speaking to HT, a Disney Publishing spokesperson said, "We are looking at localisation as a strategy for our growth. Our initial print run for eight book titles – including The Jungle Book, Alladin, The Lion King, Winnie the Pooh, Bambi, Cinderella, Tarzan and Peter Pan – will have 3,000 copies in Hindi and 3,000 copies in Marathi.

Disney channels in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi are also in the pipeline. The deal is a long-term licensing agreement with Popular Prakashan, wherein they will produce, market, print and sell the titles while Disney will license its brand.

According to Samir Patil, CEO of ACK Media, which bought Tinkle and Amar Chitra Katha, vernacular titles do have a lot of potential. He is evaluating plans to go vernacular not in the print medium but on television.

Talks are on, he said, with a few television channels for a television series based on Amar Chitra Katha or Tinkle. This, however, would be following in the footsteps of Diamond Comics' popular character Chacha Chaudhary appearing in television series a few years back.

L. Subramanyan, CEO of Chandamama, which is published in Santhali and Sanskrit, apart from other languages, attributed the trend to two primary reasons - lack in the supply of adequate content and the rising affluence of nonEnglish speaking population. "An additional reason for a lucrative vernacular markets is the new found confidence and willingness to ‘go back to roots'."
He, however, was sceptical about English content being translated into local languages. "We believe that there is a huge treasure trove of content available within this country to which we are oblivious."

Stories from afar, in Marathi

Subhash Abooj

About a decade ago, some lecturers teaching foreign languages at various institutes in Pune felt the need of a literary magazine dedicated to Marathi translations directly from these languages. They set up a group named Kalasakta and brought out the first issue of Kelyane Bhashantar on January 1, 1999. It was a 64-page quarterly, typeset at home, xeroxed and distributed, mostly to friends. By the end of the year, they reached a ‘circulation’ of 400.

“It was the only literary effort of the type then, and regrettably, even now,” says Vidyasagar Mahajan, Kalasakta secretary and chief editor of Kelyane Bhashantar. Although none in the group had much experience in the line, the importance of their work was recognised soon. The Rajya Marathi Vikas Sanstha, then headed by Sarojini Vaidya, sanctioned them a grant around the end of the second year of the venture. It covers a part of the expenses.

The editing team comprising Vidyasagar and Sunanda Mahajan, Anagha Bhat, Chetan Thakar and Vivekananda Phadke had a big job on hand—from translating some work themselves, persuading other foreign language experts to contribute and editing to typesetting, proof-reading it and getting everything ready for printing. And all this within the deadline. Then they organised the distribution. There was no question of paying any remuneration to anybody. They had to share the expenses not covered by the income from subscriptions.

Sometime in 2002, the Mahajans received a phone call. The person at the other end said he was Sharad Pawar. He wanted to talk with the Kelyane Bhashantar editor. Even Sunanda, normally an effervescent talker, was too stunned to say a word. Pawar said it was good work they were doing. He inquired about the economics of their venture. He saw to it that Kelyane Bhashantar got a substantial funding from the Nehru Centre, Mumbai. From then on, the group could focus solely on the literary aspect of Kelyane Bhashantar. But the entire editorial team continues to work in completely honorary capacity.

Ashok Jain, then with Maharashtra Times, did a lot to promote their magazine through his column. People outside Pune came to know about it and started becoming subscribers. Jain also helped the Kalasakta team to organise a convention of translators on May 1, 2003. It garnered a huge response.

Kalasakta presents a stage show, Tikdun Aanlelya Goshti (roughly meaning Stories from Afar), as part of its promotional strategy. The show comprises dramatic reading of selected translations of short stories. Actors Ila Bhate and Atul Kulkarni participate in the show along with others.

Kelyane Bhashantar will enter its tenth year in January. It has published 34 issues so far. It mainly presents short stories, poems, short plays, one-act plays, book reviews and excerpts from novels. Some major authors whose work has been translated are Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekov, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Franz Kafka, Simone the Bouvier, Juan Jose Areola, Bertolt Brecht and Mikhail Sholokov. The major share of the work translated is from French, German, Russian, Spanish and Japanese languages. Some Urdu stories from Pakistan and some Chinese work too have been translated. Recently, the magazine started including a translation from an Indian language also.

In a new and welcome development, the work published in Kelyane Bhashantar will form the content of three forthcoming books. Kalasakta and Manovikas Publications will bring out this year Nissim Bedekar’s collection of stories translated from Japanese, Anagha Bhat’s stories from Russian and Vidyasagar Mahajan’s novel from German. More such books are in the pipeline.

Some international recognition too is on its way. S Fisher, Suhrkamp and Random House publications from Germany and some Japanese publishers have offered Kalasakta the translation copyrights for their work. After ten years of hard work, the editorial team continues to be enthusiastic about the work. “When we began, we had intended to run it for 50 years. The plan remains unchanged,” says Bhat.

Vidyasagar Mahajan wants to broadbase the content by including work from more foreign languages, “if we can get it.” All those interested in such work are welcome to contribute, he says.
(Kalasakta can be contacted on email at

Coelho’s The Witch of Portobello in Marathi


His soul-searching books have inspired readers across the world, and have explored an unconventional dimension of spirituality that transcends all religious or cultural barriers. Brazilian author Paulo Coelho is undoubtedly a trend, who will soon be a part of an average Maharashtrian’s booklist, thanks to the efforts of city-based Scion Publications Pvt Ltd, which has embarked on a daring and daunting task of translating Coelho’s books from English into Marathi and Gujarati.

Scion’s director, Nitin Kottapalle, has bought the rights to translate all the books written by the author, and Scion’s first Coelho translation: The Witch of Portobello is due for release in December. Kottapalle has also bought the original photograph used in the English version’s cover from a Spanish agency ‘Idee’, for 350 Euros, which he will be using it on the Marathi translation’s cover as well.

Kottapalle, a translator himself and the winner of the State ‘Tarkateerth Lakshman Shastri Joshi’ award for the best translation in 2004, had translated Coelho’s The Alchemist and The Zahir into Marathi earlier, when he was heading the regional department of Macmillan Publications, in Pune. However, he transferred the rights of the books to Padmagandha Publications and quit Macmillan in December last year to start Scion and acquired the rights.

“My first association with Coelho was as an average reader rather than as a publisher,” said Kottapalle describing his encounter with the author’s works. “Coelho’s books describe a treasure trove of experiences, laced with complex human emotions like love, lust, freedom and anger which every ordinary individual undergoes. His writings urge the reader to discover himself and every reader interprets Coelho differently. After reading him, I wanted to bring back Coelho to my culture and to my people, in a language that they would comprehend,” he added.

Scion’s contract with Coelho’s agents gives it the rights to translate, publish and market all his books. Stressing that Scion has been marketing “Coelho, the author” rather than just the books, Kottapalle said, “We have retained the original names in the book and the title remains the same to facilitate identification. We have changed only the language, not the ideas,” he said. “The Alchemist’s translation sold over 10,000 copies and hence the expectations are high,” he added.

However, translating a western best-seller into an indigenous language, keeping in mind the cultural sensibilities as well as linguistic shortcomings is no easy task, agreed Kottapalle. Citing an example from his Alchemist translation, he said, “Some English words do not have a Marathi equivalent. For eg, The Alchemist in the translated version was referred to as ‘Kimayagaar’ — the closest we could come to the original without changing its meaning,” he explained.

Though Prashant Talnikar, the translator of The Witch of Portobello, said mercifully, he did not have to face many problems in finding Marathi equivalents, the process had not been smooth throughout. “There are similar words in both the languages which convey different connotations and one has to be cautious about how they should be translated, as the danger of misleading the reader looms large,” he said.

Navin m Prabhakar's new 'pehchaan'

The man who made the words ‘pehchaan kaun’ an integral part of the Indian comedy scene is all agog about his new album, which will feature songs, karaoke tracks and a stand-up act.

Ask comedian Navin Prabhakar why he chose to cut an album now and he says, “I was always interested in singing. In fact, I have sung for various shows in India and abroad and hoped to cut an album some day. So here it is!”

So, will this love for singing mean that comedy takes a backseat? Says Prabhakar, “While I enjoy singing, comedy is my mainstay and I can never ever keep it as a fringe activity.” So where does he get this sense of humour from – something that’s seen even in his music album? “My father. Any funny act comes from what we see and hear. My father has a great sense of humour and I guess what I do, came from observing him. I also try to see the funny side of life. Like my take on bar girls – it was never meant to be offensive, it was just seeing the lighter side of their life,” he says matter-of-factly.

Since Navin Prabhakar is scaling those heights, it is only a matter of time before he gets the film offers. So when will he take the plunge? Says Navin, “I have, in a way – in a Marathi film called No Problem. Very few people know that I am a Maharashtrian.” And what about Bollywood? To this he says, “I have got offers, but I do not want to do any film just for the heck of it. Even if it’s a comedy, it should be a meaty role.” Ask him who are his favourite comedians and he says, “There are many, but Johnny Lever is my favourite. Apart from him, I also like Paresh Rawal and Rajpal Yadav.”

With many lead stars doing comedy, does he feel threatened that comedy stars may not get their due? Says Navin, “Talent counts. It should not matter who does the role. Look at Akshay Kumar, he was once known as an action hero and today he does comedy with equal flair. Even Shah Rukh Khan was never known as a muscleman, but today his six-pack abs are making news. Whoever performs well, gets his or her due."

Ask him about the new arenas he plans to explore, like he’s done with singing, and Navin says, “Theatre excites me. It is one thing that I would love to do but have not yet done. When I have time I will definitely do it.” So how does he take out time for his family? “It’s tough. But I spend quality time with my wife and kids. My kids love the fact that I am a stand up comedian and it warms my heart to see their little friends come up to me and ask for autographs!”

Marathi writer pitches for conservancy staff

Renowned Marathi writer Mohammad Khadse said that political will is required to resolve the apathy of the conservancy staff workers who clean the city’s waste.

“The authorities have always been reluctant in recognising the problems of conservancy staff, which belong to the lowest strata of urban life,” he said in a function where those working to improve the life of the staff were felicitated.

Though a few people were working for their lot, he said, “Merely being sensitive to the problem is not enough and everyone should work together to tackle the bigger problem.”

Khadse said there has been assurance but a political will is required to make it a reality.

Earlier, the English and Marathi versions of documentary Kachra Kondi were released.

Laksha: An actor for all times

Chaitanya S Deshpande

Marathi Film Superstar and popular comedian in Bollywood Laxmikant Berde's third Death Anniversary is on 16 December 2007. The author pays tribute to this great artist and comedian.

‘HE WAS not for an age, but for all times’ said Ben Johnson once about the great William Shakespeare. It is possible for very few artists to remain for all times. Laxmikant Berde was one of those figures who will be immortal and alive forever through billions of minds and hearts.

The name Laxmikant Berde factually ruled over Marathi film industry for about two decades. Gifted with the wonderful timing of comedy, this reverent artist performed all kinds of roles with the same excellence. Regrettably, he hardly got the roles fitting to his ability and talent.

In fact, Laxmikant confirmed his distinction through several serious roles but his uniformity in doing comic roles constrained him as a comedian. Born and brought up in small village of Konkan, Laxmikant was passionate about stage since his childhood. This passion fetched him miles away in Mumbai where he joined ‘Sahitya Sangh.’

Laxmikant’s struggle was full of untiring hard work. He got his first break on commercial stage through the play ‘Tour tour’ that became a milestone in Marathi drama and granted Laxmikant a celebrity status. His ‘Shantecha Karta Chalu Ahe’, ‘Bighadale Swargache dar’, ‘Karti Chalu Ahe’ and many other plays also turned out to be super duper hits. Laxmikant’s dream run initiated with the grand success on stage and glorified when he entered on silver screen where he portrayed a middle class Marathi young man struggling for a job and a rented house in crowded Mumbai. He portrayed an innocent youth from smallest village of Maharashtra with tiny dreams in his eyes. His characters, his talent, and his attachment to the common people made him a part of all Marathi families. Laxmikant become Laksha of every Marathi heart.

Laksha’s genuine rule on Marathi film industry began when he paired with Mahesh Kothare. Mahesh was so much fascinated with his talent that he wrote many scripts just keeping Laxmikant in mind. All films by this duo were not only the commercial super-hits but also responsible for keeping Marathi film industry alive in those diverse circumstances when comedy was clutched in Dada Kondeke’s duel meaning films and tragedies were out of Marathi film world.

Mahesh and Laksha’s pair gave milestone films like ‘Dhumdhadaka’, ‘Dhadakebaz’, ‘Thartharat’, ‘Maza Chhakula’, ‘Zapatlela’ and Laksha’s last appearance ‘Pachhadlela.’ With classic filmmaker Sachin, Laksha shared screen in ‘Banvabanwee’ , ‘Aytya Gharat Gharoba’ and many all time hits.

Acting was god’s gift for Laxmikant. His sense and timing of comedy was just perfect. Through his long career in drama, he acquired a special quality to grab the public attraction within minutes. At one point, his craze was so captivating that a film like ‘Chal Re Laksha Mumbaila’ was produced to cash his popularity. Besides this, many scripts were written genuinely for him.

Meanwhile, Laxmikant and Ashok Saraf created a treasured legacy in the history of Marathi films. These two artists had an incomparable tuning but very few directors made a quality use of it. The Ashok-Laksha pair performed through more than 300 films among which many were mere droops. Whatsoever, their films made billions laugh forgetting all worries and stress.

While on the top of the Marathi world, Laxmikant received the offers from esteemed Bollywood filmmakers like Rajashri Production. In ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’, Laxmikant portrayed main supporting character of Salman Khan’s friend with excellence. Soon, he became the inseparable part of Rajashri’s films. In ‘Hum Aap Ke Hai Kaun’, Laxmikant got only a single serious scene in which he literally makes everyone cry. His forte was to stern the audience at once while laughing but he hardly found such roles in films.

In ‘Ek Hota Vidushak’ written by legendary PL Deshpande, Laxmikant proved his prominence and received acclaim from all over. He expected state award for this film but his dream could not be fulfilled. Later, he worked extremely hard for ‘Manus’ which was again a strong disappointment for him as the film failed to accomplish his expectations. He was very much keen to do serious kinds of roles but was not fortunate enough to get them. He even planned for an autobiography written in Charlie Chaplin’s manner.

In recent times, Laxmikant returned on stage with ‘Lele Viruddha Lele’ and ‘Sir Ale Dhawoon’ but his return was momentary as the destiny was planning for the worst. One who used to bring smiles on weeping faces at once left all of us lamenting and passed away due to serious kidney failure. His demise was a shock not only for his fans but also for his industry, as this herald of happiness never let anyone know about the gravity of his illness.

Laksha took his final exit from this world on 16 December 2004, three years before, but it is hard to believe even today that he is not with us. Even after three decades and three centuries, his remembrances would remain vivid as ‘Laksha was not for an age, but for all times.’

GaDiMa award for historian Purandare

Noted historian and author Babasaheb Purandare has been selected for the prestigious ‘GaDiMa’ Puraskar instituted by the GaDiMa Pratishthan in the memory of eminent author GD Madgulkar. The award includes a cash prize of Rs. 10,000, a memento and a certificate.

Purandare, who studied history under veteran historian Datto Vaman Potdar, dedicated his life to the study of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. He toured the forts of Maharashtra by foot or by cycle, which finally led to the popular narrative of Shivaji’s life titled Shiv Charitra. Purandare also has to his name many poems and songs, as well as plays like Mauj Ahe, Smile Please and Ajinkya Mee. He has previously been awarded the Chaitraban Puraskar.

Among other honours to be awarded by the GaDiMa Pratishthan this year is the ‘Gruhini Sakhi Sachiv Puraskar’ that is given to wives of eminent personalities who have carved a niche for themselves while managing the home front. This year the award will be presented to Disha Kelkar, wife of internationally acclaimed linguist Ashok Kelkar. Other recipients of this award include Sunita Deshpande, Sadhana Amte, and Mangala Naralikar.
The ‘GaDiMa’ Snehabandha Puraskar will be presented to Nagnath Naikwadi for his contribution in the independence struggle and illustrious political career post independence.

Aurangabad girl Vaishali Ashok Pawar has been selected for the ‘GaDiMa Paritoshik’, which is awarded to students who excel in the Marathi language. Pawar, who studies at the Bhairomal Tanwani Vidya Mandir at the Gangapur taluka in Aurangabad district, secured the first rank in the state board with 96 per cent in Marathi.
All awards will be presented at a function on December 14 at Tilak Smarak Mandir at 5 pm

Maya under fire from Dalit leaders in Maharashtra

Express News Service

MUMBAI, November 30: In the run-up to Babasaheb Ambedkar’s death anniversary, to be observed at Chaityabhoomi where his last rites were performed on December 6, Dalit leaders are criticising BSP chief Mayawati for not paying tribute to the Dalit icon.

Founder-president of Dalit Panthers and noted poet Namdeo Dhasal has demanded an apology from her for not visiting Chaityabhoomi during her recent visit and for calling Buddhists “Mahar”.

Dhasal has asked her to apologise before December 6 or face dire consequences. “If Mayawati fails to apologise for this great insult toAmbedkar’s followers before December 6, she will not be able to visit Maharashtra again and her BSP will have to face dire consequences,” he has said.

Dhasal further pointed out that after the conversion of Dalits to Buddhism in 1956 along with Ambedkar, the Mahar community was being recognised as Buddhists, but Mayawati had insulted the community by calling it Mahar. He was referring to Mayawati’s speech on Sunday in which she had stated that the Congress Government, in order to appease Dalits, would make a Mahar person the chief minister of the state.

Dhasal’s gesture comes close on the heels of similar criticism of Mayawati by Dalit leaders of Maharashtra. Lok Sabha MP and leader of the Republican Party of India (RPI) Ramdas Athavale has already lambasted her for not paying tribute to Ambedkar at his resting place at Chaityabhoomi.

Athavale has also accused her of misleading Dalits to strengthen the Hindutva brigade, as she has the history of forming alliance with the BJP. He has also asked her to convert to Buddhism if she revered Ambedkar and wanted his followers to join her party.

Ambedkar’s grandson, Prakash, has also objected to the third place given to Ambedkar on BSP’s publicity material and taken it as an insult of the Dalit icon. He too has objected to Mayawati shunning Chaityabhoomi.

The Dalit leaders of the state are divided into a dozen odd factions of the RPI, but are apparently apprehensive about Mayawati carving out her following among their followers. While Athavale is an ally of NCP, Dhasal is a supporter of the Shiv Sena. Prakash’s alliances keep changing between the Congress or leftist parties.
The obvious ploy of the leaders is to turn Buddhists against Mayawati, as she is still a Hindu Dalit. They are banking on the religious sentiments of Dalits, who have converted to Buddhism and are bitter about the caste system.

Maharashtra forts get a facelift

By a Sify Correspondent

Mumbai: In a bid to boost tourism through heritage, the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums, Maharashtra is currently undertaking restoration of several heritage structures across the State in a phased manner.
As part of the plan, four in Mumbai and Thane – the Bandra Fort, Worli Fort, Sewree Fort and Ghodbunder Fort in Thane will be restored by March next year, according to R N Hegde, director, Archaeology and Museums.

The directorate has received grants from the Indian Tourism Development Corporation through Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation for resorting these forts. "The project will cost about Rs 7.5 crore," he said.
There are some other forts which would be given grant under the 12th Finance Commission and there are some other sites which will be restored during the current financial year.

These forts include Shirgaon Fort, near Vasai in Thane, Shankarwada in Nashik, Holkarwada in Chandwad, Parvati temple at Hottal, Nanded, Bhairavnath temple, Laxmivilas Palace at Kolhapur, Central Museum, Nagpur and town Hall Musuem, Kolhapur. "This project will cost Rs 12.5 crore," he said.

An ancient site known as Ter (in Osmanabad), which throws light on the Indo-Roman trade in the Christian era is also being restored. This project is expected to be complete next year.

Keshav Meshram, great dalit poet and novelist, passes away in Mumbai

Vibhav Birwatkar

Keshav Meshram passed away in a hospital at Bandra in Mumbai on Thursday. He was an eminent dalit poet and novelist, and great critic of extremist trend in dalit literature.

EMINENT DALIT poet, critic, novelist and short-story writer Keshav Tanaji Meshram passed away in a hospital at Bandra in Mumbai on Thursday. He was suffering from lung cancer. With his death, a prolific literary career of a man (he had written about 40 books), who always maintained balance while voicing the pain, revolt and introspection of the plight of dalits, has also come to an end. Despite being a contemporary of Namdeo Thasaal (founder of dalit panther and a fiery poet), Meshram‘s poetry was like a restrained effort to convey feelings in a decent language.

In his presidential speech at the Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan at Nasik in 2005, Meshram had lambasted the literary mafia for confining their world only to suit the stastes of elites. He had also asked how many of established writers had actually ventured beyond their comfortable white-collar world to see how crores of poor people live. He had criticised them for creating a coterie of writers, critics, publishing houses and libraries for running their business at the cost of true literary values. He had also criticized the extremist trend in dalit literature, which believed in only hurling expletives at the established classes and calling it revolutionary literature.

Breaking the tradition of his ABMSS predecessors, who had always blamed the English language for the decline of Marathi usage, Meshram had said that blaming any language would not solve the problem and that Marathi was not a dying language. He had pointed out that those crying hoarse to save Marathi were educating their children in English schools and wanted them to go abroad. His had tried to indicate that the elites were misguiding the masses. He had asked the state government to create a literary academy to translate great literary words from other language to Marathi and vice versa so that the common reader could enrich himself intellectually.

He had also warned of growing frustrations among people, especially the poor and newly educated youths belonged to various oppressed castes, because of the changes initiated through globalization and privatization.

Meshram was born on November 24, 1937 in a poor dalit family in Akola. He spent his adolescence and early adulthood working as a railway wagon loader, a construction worker and oil mill worker. While struggling for the basics of life, he continued with his education simultaneously. His joined as a clerk in Western Railways for a full time job but later he became a Marathi lecturer at Maharshi Dayanand college (popularly known as M.D college in Parel).
His volumes of poems ‘Utkhanan’ (excavation) earned him the status of an important dalit poet. As a novelist, his most popular work was ‘Jatayu’ in which he portrayed the anguish of a brilliant but poor dalit boy, Abhimaan, who was sidelined despite being a talented student. In ‘Jatayu’, Meshram showed how Abhimaan fought with superstitions and blind faith. But, when he interfered with the rituals of a tantrik, it brought disaster to him. He unsuccessfully tried to save a possessed girl from being molested and beaten up. The girl died and the police framed him at the time when he received his appointment letter for a job.

Meshram’s autobiography ‘Hakikat’ shows the development of a sensitive mind in an adverse world. His other literary works deal with introspection of the plight of dalits in the changing world.

Rare Portraits of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj

Here are some rare portraits of Chhatrpati Shivaji Maharaj, the Great Warrior of India.


Marathi vs non-Marathi tussle to hit silver screen

Rohit Chandavarkar / CNN-IBN

Mumbai: The controversy of Marathis versus the non-Marathis in Mumbai has surfaced yet again, but this time in a film which has, perhaps inevitably, run into trouble with the censor board.

"Mumbai humari hai, Marathiyon ki nahi!"

"Mumbai Amchich!"

These are just some of the provocative snippets from the movie Mumbai Amchich, which means Mumbai is ours only.

The controversial film is a one man enterprise – Sharad Bandsode has written, directed, produced and acted as the protagonist. Bandsode has a pretty clear message for his viewers.
“When Marathis don’t get what they want, they want to drive everyone out. ‘Go back to your own state, we’ll take our own (back)’”, says Bandsode.

However, these strong views did not find favour with Censor Board Chairperson Sharmila Tagore.

"India is a democratic country, everyone can come and go wherever they want,” she says, adding, “They show a lot of violence (in the film)."

After being tossed about between the censor board and the courts for months, the film is finally being released on January 18 with some cuts.

All may still not go well for Bandsode, though, for the film can easily kick up a political storm.
"If the film has objectionable content, we will ask for it to be banned,” insisted Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam.

Seeing the storm brewing around his debut film, Bandsode has now decided that he will not release the film in Mumbai.

With inputs by Nimisha Srivastav

Renowned Marathi intellectual Y.D. Phadke dead

by Mudassir Rizwan

Mumbai : Renowned Marathi author, historian and intellectual, Yashwant D. Phadke passed away Friday at Dadar, central Mumbai, while watching a play. He was 77.
Phadke collapsed while watching a play at Shivaji Mandir. He was rushed to the Sushrusha Hospital nearby, but was pronounced dead on admission.

He is survived by his wife, a doctor son, a daughter and grandchildren.
A former professor of international politics at the University of Mumbai, Phadke authored several books on the history of Maharashtra, the constitution of India, biographies of freedom fighters and social reformers.

Phadke had earlier survived three heart attacks and undergone an angioplasty. He will be cremated late Friday night at the Shivaji Park crematorium, central Mumbai.
His neighbour in Bandra's Patrakar Nagar, D.K. Raikar said Phadke "wrote with a rare courage, and tackled sensitive topics with finesse and an intellectual grip".

"His writings were backed by the power of conviction. Once convinced over any issue, he would stick to it, irrespective of the consequences," Raikar, editor of Lokmat group of Newspapers, told IANS after hearing of Phadke's death.

Phadke, an acknowledged authority in history and politics, presided over the 73rd Belgaum Marathi Sahitya Sammelan (literary conference) in 2000.

Phadke's works include six published volumes of the eight he had planned on the history of Maharashtra, the constitution of India and the Right to Information Act, and biographies of Subhash Chandra Bose and Lokmanya Bal Ganagadhar Tilak.

He had penned a collection of short stories during his school days at his hometown Solapur.
Over the years, he wrote eight books in English and many in Marathi. He also contributed columns to various newspapers.

Phadke was working on the compilation of the history of the 20th century Maharashtra.
Six books of the series, for which he collaborated closely with former prime minister Morarji Desai, who was also the chief minister of Bombay state comprising present day Maharashtra and Gujarat, have already been printed, chronicling till 1960.


Arvind Mukhedkar on ETV Marathi

Music Dierctor Arvind Mukhedkar is interviewed by Raju Parulekar in SAMVAD on E-TV Marathi and the interview will be telecasted on Thursday morning ie January 10th at 8.00 AM.
The unique thing with Arvind that he conducts the one day workshop
called as NOTATION STATION and teaches to read, write the Sargam Notation system with very simple and interesting way to professionals and common musicins. Notation system helps musicians for perfection.

His workshops are appreciated by Music Dept of Mumbai University, Sangeet Kala Academy of Bombay Municipal Corporation, I.I.T. Bombay; Gandharva Sangeet Mahavidyalay, Pune; Catholic Churches in and around Mumbai;
also known personalities from film industry and many young singers and musicians.

Arvind is faliciated as SANGEET PRABHAVAK by Mumbai Jain Samaj and Dakshin Bharat Jain Sabha in hands of Shri Ravindraji Jain in 2004 at Birla Sabhagar, Mumbai.

He also conducts workshops on Devotional music.

Please watch him.

His contacts are 91 22 26823554 Cell: 91 09869620587