Vankudre Shantaram was a coolie who carried equipment from floor to floor at the Prabhat Studios in Kolahpur,but he was a young man with lofty ambitions and dreamt of having his own studios in Bombay one day – Ali Peter John
People laughed at his ambitions because he was an entirely illiterate man, but he refused to give up his ambitions .
He had a split with his partners and landed in Bombay with whatever money and experiences he had and brought land cheap in Parel which was largely a mill area and started building his Rajkamal Studio step by step and when he had completed building his dream studio, it was one of the most fabulous studios in the country where film makers from the South and Calcutta came to shoot thier prestigious films .
When Shantaram left Kolhapur,he had made sure that he carried with him his small but favourite idol of Lord Ganesh with him because he believed that whatever would happen to him in thr city of dreams would happen because of the blessings of Lord Ganesh.
And Lord Ganesh took very good care of him till the coolie from Prabhat studio grew into the Raja of Lalbagh and who was nothing short of being a Maharaja of his own Empite with parrots in pure gold cages and deer and ducks walking around in the gardens he had built and a Balatial house in which he lived with all his wives and thier children.
He was a filmmaker some of the leading filmakers from India and abroad looked upto .
Besides taking personal interest in every department of making his films ,in personally supervised the cleanliness of his sprawling studio where he had a long walk every evening and personality pickedup every speck of grass or paper and fired his son Kiran Shantaram if he found anything looking clumsy or out of place .
It was during a Ganapati festival and while he was on his rounds that he slipped and fell and was rushed to the Bombay Hospital and while he was being taken to hospital in an ambulance ,he told Kiran that he would never come back to Rajkamal Studio again because he would not like to see himself as an invalid.
He was in Hospital for more than a month and then what he had predicted for himself came true .
He died peacefully in his sleep and distubed the peace of millions who had got addicted to his kind of films and his decipline of making his films.