ShantaApte was born in Dudhni, Maharashtra. Trained at the Maharashtra SangeetVidyalaya at Pandharpur, she was introduced to film as a child by BhaljiPendharkar, one of the founding members of the Prabhat Film Company. In AmritManthan (1934), Apte converted a supporting role (playing the hero’s sister) into one of the film’s principal draws with her vocal renditions of KeshavraoBhole’s songs. The songs were hugely popular not only in Maharashtra, but also in the north-western regions of the subcontinent such as Amritsar and Lahore, opening markets for Prabhat Film.KeshavraoBhole, the music composer, was initially skeptical of her ability to adapt to his light classical form of music, but she performed it with aplomb and with a hitherto unseen felicity of vocal expression and physical gesture on screen. This was a marked departure from the stiff, declamatory style of actors that had been imported from the stage.
After starring in another major Prabhat film ‘Amar Jyoti’ (1936), Apte starred in what has become her most iconic role: that of the strong-willed young woman forced into marriage with a much older man in ‘Kunku’/ ‘Duniyana Mane’ (1937). Her performance and appearance are starkly counterpointed against those of Keshavrao Date, who played the old husband, ensuring the incisive impact of the film as a progressive social statement till date.
Besides V. Shantaram, she worked with a host of directors of the time such as BhaljiPendharkar, PhaniMajumdar, Master Vinayak and Raja Paranjpe. In 1941, Apte acted opposite the legendary M.S. Subbulakshmi in Y.V. Rao’s ‘Savithri’, playing the title role alongside Subbulakshmi’sNarada. Her real-life hunger strike outside the gates of the Prabhat studio in Pune to protest over her contract is famous in the annals of film lore. Her autobiography, released in 1940, was titled ‘Jau mi cinemaat?’, translated as ‘Shall I go into films?’ #FilmHeritage #filmpreservation #cinemalovers #filmarchive #filmheritage #films #movies #cinema #indiancinema #wolrdcinema #filmheritagefoundation #saveourcinema #saveindiancinema #artist #actors #posters #filmreels #instadaily #movie #cinemania