CONNECTING Dadar Kabutarkhana to Gokhale Road is N C Kelkar Marg, a road dotted with famous eateries, two of the oldest cinema theatres and a place of much historical significance.
The Narasimha Chintaman Kelkar Marg has never been short of action — earlier by the bustle of the once operational Kohinoor Mills, and the several malls and shops that line the road today. Moreover, it was here that Shiv Sena headquarters Sena Bhavan was inaugurated on June 19, 1977, and the very ground where Bal Thackeray launched his party.
Known to have been a ‘trusted lieutenant’ of Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Kelkar, a lawyer and writer, later went on to serve as the editor of Tilak’s newspaper Kesari, established in 1881. Kelkar was born at Modnimb in Solapur district where his father worked as an administrator in then princely state of Miraj. In his book History of Indian Journalism, J Natarajan writes, “Kelkar and (K P) Khadilkar were trusted lieutenants of Tilak… Both edited the Kesari with great ability… Kelkar’s writings were known for information, fair presentation, appeal to reason and overall literary flavour.”
Veteran journalist Bharatkumar Raut said, “The road earlier had the Kohinoor Mills because of which it was always a bustling spot. Historically, the place has been politically active, especially so after the formation of Maharashtra state (1960). Prabodhankar Thackeray, father of Balasaheb Thackeray, founded the Hanuman temple and the Navratri Utsav on the road. It was also the centre of rioting after the Sena took a stand against south Indians (in the late 1960s). Some five to six Udipi restaurants on the road were attacked.”
“The place has several well-known cinema houses like Plaza and Kohinoor theatre — now Nakshatra. Kohinoor was one of the few cinema houses that played Marathi movies. The road has several well-known places to dine like Gomantak Boarding House, Visawa and Crystal Punjab, now shut. It was also the centre of Marathi theatre activity.” At one end of the road is the Peer Bhagdadi Dargah. Kishore Chand, who runs Avanti Collection, said: “The clothes shops constitute a large part of this road’s identity… We have been running it for 30 years now.”