Dating back to 1953, Gulacha Ganpati, a classic black-and-white film, is an emotional drama that features the late Purushottam Lakshman Deshpande, renowned Marathi writer, playwright and actor, who is popularly known as Pu La.
The film is among the best works of Pu La and is famous for the fact that it saw Pu La donning many hats – that of the writer, the director, the lead actor and the music composer.
The handwritten manuscript of the film by Pu La has become a part of the collection of city-based National Film Archive of India (NFAI).
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Dilip Shripad Rajguru, the younger brother of the film’s producer, Vinayak Rajguru, recently visited NFAI with his sister-in-law (Vinayak’s wife), Dr Sarojini Rajguru, to hand over the script. “Although we know how valuable this script is, we weren’t sure if we and our future generations would be able to preserve it forever. Hence, we decided to pass it on to the right hands who will preserve it in the right manner,” says Dilip Rajguru. The script, he says, was written by Pu La in the year 1951 and stretches up to at least 90 pages. “Though it is a 65-year-old document, it’s in decent condition,” he adds.
Gulacha Ganpati revolves around a naive and foolish character named Narya, who falls in love with a girl called Leela, played by Chitra. Narya whiles away his time in imitating fantasies picked up from romance fictions. He is hired by a local stage troupe to play a role. Sudarshan, a villain character in the film, played by Kale, forces Narya to do unlawful things in real life. However, Narya’s love Leela comes to his rescue. While almost all the songs of Gulacha Ganpati became hits instantly, a few rule the hearts of Marathi music lovers even today, for instance, Pt Bhimsen Joshi’s bhajan ‘Indrayani Kathi’, Ketkichya Bannat sung by Asha Bhosle and Ethch Taka Tambu by Asha Bhosle and Vasant Rao Deshpande, among others. Besides Pu La, the film starred actors such as Vinay Kale, Vasant Shinde and Angrey in prominent roles, while the songs were written by GD Madgulkar.
“I’m very glad that it (script) has come to us. It’s a priceless possession for so many reasons. Firstly, it is a handwritten script by a stalwart like Pu La. Though it’s handwritten and dates back to the year 1953, it’s still in a good condition. However, we would like to digitise it as soon as possible, rather immediately,” said Prakash Magdum, director of NFAI.