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Pratik Gandhi, Patralekhaa to headline Hindi biopic Phule, directed by Anant Mahadevan

The first look of the film, written by the filmmaker, was released on 11 April on Mahatma Phule’s 195th birth anniversary.

Our Correspondent

Pratik Gandhi and Patralekhaa will play the 19th-century social reformers Mahatma Jyotirao Govindrao Phule and his wife Savitribai Phule in the upcoming Hindi biopic Phule (2023), written and directed by Anant Mahadevan

Produced by Content Engineers and Dancing Shiva Productions, the first look of the two leads in character was released today on Mahatma Phule’s 195th birth anniversary.

Jyotirao and Savitribai Phule championed women’s education and campaigned against untouchability and the caste system. He founded the Satyashodhak Samaj (Society of Truth Seekers) to demand equal rights for the lower classes.

Gandhi stated that it was a real honour to take Mahatma Phule’s legacy to the world. “Phule is my first biographical film and even though the challenges are huge — given the fact that he was such an inspirational Indian leader — it’s also a dream role and I can’t wait to get started,” he revealed.

He added, “I remember saying yes immediately after hearing the narration. Some characters just come to you and I am glad that Anant sir came to me with this film. It’s wonderful that Content Engineers and Dancing Shiva have taken the responsibility of telling an unexplored part of Mahatma Jyotiba and Savitribai Phule’s life to the millennials.”

Patralekhaa, who made her film debut in CityLights (2014) with now-husband Rajkimmar Rao, said that this project would stay with her long after it is over, especially because of the subject matter. She said, “I grew up in Shillong, Meghalaya, which boasts of a matriarchal society so gender equality is very close to my heart. Savitribai joined hands with her husband to start the first indigenously run school for girls in Pune way back in 1848. Mahatma Phule also championed widow remarriage and together they set up an orphanage to prevent infanticide.”

A Marathi film on the social activists, Mahatma Phule, was made in 1954 by Pralhad Keshav Atre. Anant has made the biopics Mee Sindhutai Sapkal (2010), Gour Hari Dastaan (2015) and Doctor Rakhmabai (2018).

Remembering the one and only Acharya Atre, literary giant and daring filmmaker

The writer-director said, “There are so many inspiring stories in our country that are still unknown or for some reasons kept under wraps by historians. Films are a great way to connect the younger generation to these unsung heroes. Jyotiba and Savitri Phule are the torch-bearers of social revolution in India, and I couldn’t have asked for a better cast and team that is backing this project.”

The biopic, which is expected to be released next year, is being produced by Dr Raj Kishor Khaware, Pranay Chokshi, Saurabh Varma, Utpaal Acharya, Anuya Chauhan Kudecha and Ritesh Kudecha.