The Silent Film by Sharayu Summanwar

 Sharayu Summanwar in conversation with
Latika Padgaonkar
about her three books:
Shaurya, The Silent Film, Unlocked.

Review by   :

  • Mohini Khot

Sharayau Summanwar has been a banker in terms of her career, an Army daughter and wife in terms of her personal life. As she told Latika, she took up writing as a “fun” project. Her two romantic novels were taken up quite light heartedly. The Silent Film, a biography of her great uncle, Dadasaheb Phalke, the pioneer of Indian cinema, took much more “work”. Other than the insider family knowledge that she had about her illustrious great uncle, she did also do a lot of research and spade work.

Latika Padgaonkar proved to be the ideal interviewer, eliciting from Sharayu much more than what the books alone offer. She began with a comparison of the two romances. In both she noticed a similarity in the delineation of the heroes and heroines. Sharayu confessed that it had not been designed thus! She had really not deliberated to that extent and had just allowed her imagination to carry her forward.

The discussion of Dadasaheb’s artistic nature, his easy going attitude to things and then his hard work in his studio was very interesting. Of course, the fact that Sharayu gives us the “insider” information about Dadasaheb is very special. Other books have been written about him but lack this personal angle. His relationship with his parents and siblings, his wife (actually two wives) and children make for interesting reading.

Latika’s questions brought out the struggles that Dadasaheb had constantly to face. It was a tough life. Finances were always a problem. Actors and workers were hard to find. But he ploughed ahead as best as he could, managing with whatever he had available to him. The response to each of his films was also discussed. Latika’s knowledge of film history helped her to “place” Dadasaheb in the history of both world cinema and cinema in India.

Recording of the event :

Nityaasha Foundation