Aficionados of Marathi cinema and fans of iconic Marathi litterateur P.L. Deshpande — affectionately known as ‘Pu La’ — have news to cheer about as the city-based National Film Archive of India (NFAI) has acquired rare footage from a ‘lost’ Marathi film classic of the 1940s which starred Deshpande.The film, Vande Mataram (1948) directed by Ram Gabale, is a much sought-after memorabilia item high on the lists of Marathi film collectors and devotees of Pu La’s work.It marked the first time that the multi-faceted Deshpande, who starred alongside his wife Sunita, played the lead role following minor appearances in earlier films, Kuber (1947) and Bhagyaresha (1948).“The 35-minute footage that we have received has rekindled hopes that the complete film may yet be discovered. The footage, in form of a VHS tape, was given to us by Dinesh Thakur (Sunita Deshpande’s nephew) and film historian Satish Jakatdar along with U-matic tapes which contain previously unseen footage of Pu La playing the harmonium,” said Prakash Magdum, Director, NFAI.He informed that while the sound quality was all right, there was dire need to enhance the picture quality of the footage.Vande Mataram, made immediately after Independence but set during the freedom struggle, was a heady confluence of the most formidable talents to grace Marathi cinema during its heyday in the late 1940s. The film, shot in Kolhapur, was written by yet another legendary Marathi literary figure, the famed poet-writer Gajanan Digambar Madgulkar who also provided the lyrics, while the music was composed by renowned singer Sudhir Phadke.It was edited by Raja Thakur (who later became a director in his own right), helmed by the talented Mr. Gabale, a Prabhat Studios regular, and was produced by the maverick P.R. Bhide.The film, with its memorable music and songs, focuses on the patriotism of ordinary folks and is laced with gentle humour.“VandeMataram is indeed remarkable for the dazzling array of talent associated with it as Madgulkar, Pu La and Phadke constituted the veritable trinity of Marathi cinema during its golden age in the late 1940s and 50s. Its ‘lost film’ status has lent it a certain aura. The film was very dear to its composer, Sudhir Phadke, who had in fact visited Mr. Thakur’s residence in Mumbai following Pu La’s death in 2000 to search if the latter had preserved it in his collection,” said Mr. Magdum, speaking to The Hindu.He said that the footage featured a couple of songs and has Pu La singing a powada (ballad).“In particular, one song from this film, Ved Mantrahun Vandya, became a huge hit and endures in its popularity even till this day,” said Mr. Magdum.He further said that the acquisition was doubly delightful as by a happy coincidence this year happens to be the birth centenary of P.L. Deshpande, G.D. Madgulkar and Sudhir Phadke. Incidentally 2018 was the birth centenary of the film’s producer, P.R. Bhide.“Bhide was an interesting character who dabbled in a number of things including the cinema. Besides Vande Mataram, the other notable film he produced was Lalat (1947) where his auteurist tendencies were in full display in his highly innovative experiment of using 16 mm film to record sound instead of film,” Mr. Magdum said, remarking that Bhide later exited cinema to become a spiritual godman, establishing the Manashakti Center in Lonavla and assuming the name of ‘Swami Vijnananand’.Of the other memorabilia acquired by the NFAI, one of the two hour-long U-matic cassettes showcase the considerable Harmonium skills of the versatile Mr. Deshpande and were recorded sometime in Mumbai in the 1980s.The other cassette has his inimitable recitation of some of his beloved characters from his literary ouvre.In December 2015, the NFAI had received another rare ‘Pu La’ memorabilia in the form of Deshpande’s original handwritten script of the enduring 1953 Marathi classic Gulacha Ganpati which was later digitized by them.
But FIFA has now concluded that it lacked to the time to prepare a country to host the extra games.In Kuwait, Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium has 60,000 seats and the capacity at Sabah Al-Salem Stadium is only 26,000. Both venues would require upgrades to be used at the World Cup, putting the spotlight on working conditions and labor rights.FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura wrote to human rights activists last month to offer assurances that there was going to be “an assessment of human rights risks and potential opportunities associated with a possible expansion.”Qatar has an exemption that allows foreigners to drink alcohol, but Kuwait has a complete ban which would have be problematic for FIFA, which has Budweiser as a major sponsor.FIFA has already had to adapt to cope with taking its showpiece tournament to the Middle East for the first time.ADVERTISEMENT Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting While Qatar won a vote in 2010 on the basis of staging a June-July World Cup, FIFA shifted the tournament to from its usual slot because of the fierce summer heat to Nov. 21-Dec 18, 2022.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MOST READ Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue LATEST STORIES DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Rudy Gobert, Paul George, Giannis Antetokounmpo headline NBA All-Defensive teams ‘Rebel attack’ no cause for concern-PNP, AFP People watch the inauguration ceremony, Thursday, May 16, 2019, of the Al Wakrah stadium, which is the first stadium has been built from the scratch for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Doha, Qatar. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)FIFA scrapped plans to expand the 2022 Qatar World Cup to 48 nations, deciding Wednesday to stick with 32 countries due to the political and logistical complexities of using another Persian Gulf nation.FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s hopes of expanding the Middle East’s first World Cup in the region were stymied by the regional diplomatic crisis and the governing body’s demands on host nations to adhere to its human and labor rights requirements. That means the World Cup will not be expanded until 2026, with FIFA already having approved a format with 48 teams for that tournament in the United States, Canada and Mexico.ADVERTISEMENT Robredo calls for scrapping of ‘Oplan Tokhang’ PLAY LIST 02:34Robredo calls for scrapping of ‘Oplan Tokhang’00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Two-day strike in Bicol fails to cripple transport Duterte wants probe of SEA Games mess A meeting of the FIFA Council in March authorized Infantino to work with Qatar on seeing if it was feasible to use at least one more country in the region to accommodate an additional 16 matches and present a proposal at meetings in June.“Following a thorough and comprehensive consultation process with the involvement of all the relevant stakeholders, it was concluded that under the current circumstances such a proposal could not be made now,” FIFA said in a statement on Wednesday. “Due to the advanced stage of preparations and the need for a detailed assessment of the potential logistical impact on the host country, more time would be required and a decision could not be taken before the deadline of June. It was therefore decided not to further pursue this option.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsA FIFA internal report had already concluded that the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia could not join as co-hosts unless they restore the economic and travel ties with Qatar that were severed two years ago.The regional diplomatic crisis left neutral Kuwait and Oman as the viable options. Oman has said it isn’t keen on hosting games at the FIFA showpiece. Infantino visited Kuwait last month in an attempt to persuade them to host matches in 2022. Catholic schools seek legislated pay hike, too View comments