Remembering Nilu Phule on his 11th death anniversary.
Nilu Phule was born in 1930 in Pune as Nilkanth Krushnaji Phule to the clan of the great social reformer Mahatma Jyotirao Phule. He is considered one of the greatest actors of Marathi stage/films of all time. He was involved in the Freedom movement for India. According to his interview in a serial ‘Vastraharan’ on a Marathi Channel, he was a freedom fighter from Pune.
Nilu Phule began his theatrical career with the Marathi folk performances (loknatya). His first professional drama was Katha Akalecha Kandyachi, which went on to have over 2000 shows. It was based on this success that he was offered his first movie Ek Gaav Baara Bhanagadi, by Anant Mane in 1968.
Nilu often played villains; most notably his portrayal of Sakharam Binder Some of his notable film roles include a power-drunk politician in Mahesh Bhatt’s Saaransh, a political journalist in Jabbar Patel’s Sinhasan, and a sugar tycoon in Jabbar Patel’s Saamna.
One of Phule’s most notable theatrical performances includes his role as the eponymous hero of Vijay Tendulkar’s Sakharam Binder (first staged in 1972). Kamlakar Sarang, who directed the first production of the play in 1972, was apprehensive of Phule’s reticence. However, he was convinced that Phule would be fit for the role when Vijay Tendulkar reminded him of Phule’s aggressive performance as a minister in another play, Katha Aklechya Kandyachi.